i-CABLE Communications surrenders Hong Kong pay TV licence

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023 
i-CABLE Communications logo

i-CABLE Continues Strategic Transformation with Reforming Media Business

i-CABLE Communications Limited (the ‘Company’ or ‘i-CABLE’, together with its subsidiaries and consolidated structured entities, the ‘Group’) (Stock Code: 1097) today announced that, in view of the rapidly changing media landscape in Hong Kong and fierce competition among the global paid TV content providers and pay TV operators, Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (‘CABLE TV’), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, has submitted an application for the surrender of the Domestic Pay Television Programme Service Licence (‘Pay TV Licence’) to the Government and has been granted approval today.

The Group will continue to drive for strategic transformation by increasing investment on free TV channels and multimedia business to capitalise on the opportunities from the structural change of the local media market. The Group is also committed to focus its resources on media business more effectively, to enhance the quality, competitiveness and influence of our free TV channels and multimedia services as well as to construct an open media platform for Hong Kong’s public.

After CABLE TV surrendered the Pay TV Licence, the Group will continue to provide free tv programme services and other businesses as usual, including broadband telecommunications services, telephony services, network construction and mobile services. Cable TV’s talents and resources can be more flexibly utilised and invested in the aforementioned business developments.

CABLE TV expects to terminate its pay TV broadcast on 1 June, 2023. CABLE TV will handle the arrangements of existing subscribers’ Pay TV service and related matters as appropriate. CABLE TV will use its best endeavour to ensure customers can continue to enjoy watching both pay TV and free TV channels before the Pay TV licence is surrendered. After the surrender of the Pay TV licence, CABLE TV will continue to take measures to ensure the reception of the existing free TV channels by the public is unaffected.

Customers may choose to keep their existing TV set-top box and accessories, CABLE TV will provide guidance and recommendations regarding on their handling. For those vulnerable groups such as the elderly, CABLE TV will take steps to provide direct assistance. CABLE TV will also set up collection points for customers who wish to return the TV set-top boxes and their accessories for recycling purposes.

CABLE TV will begin to notify customers on the details of service termination and arrangements through various channels such as email, company website, Facebook, text messages, letters and monthly statements. Multiple channels for inquiries will be provided.

Extra Channels as Token of Appreciation

To show appreciation for our customers’ continuous support, from 15 February to 31 May 2023, CABLE TV will make available 10 premium channels including entertainment, movies, kids and documentary genres to all residential pay TV customers.

Expanding Free Channels while Strengthening Multimedia Business

In the past two years, the Company has been committed to reform the business by expanding its free TV channels business and strengthening multimedia business strongly, which laid a solid foundation for future development, including:

  1. Improved free TV spectrum coverage so that our free TV programme service is now available for reception by not less than 99% of the population of Hong Kong.
  2. Established differentiation between HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment (Channel 78), respectively covering entertainment programmes and news reportage for the public.
  3. HOY TV (Channel 77) has been rebranded with new programmes arrangement providing more variety and enhanced entertainment content.
  4. Launched a new free TV channel HOY Infotainment (Channel 78) which provides local news, global finance, sports and infotainment programmes. A 4,000 square-meter brand new studio located in New World Tower, Central which has recently commenced operation, together with the studio located in Tsuen Wan, to enhance production capabilities.
  5. Revamped the websites of i-CABLE and HOY TV and recorded an outstanding result in multimedia business. It recorded monthly active users of 1.67 million and 187,000 on its i-cable.com and hoy.tv websites in December 2022, representing year-on-year growth of 203% and 80% respectively. i-CABLE also recorded over ONE million followers on the Group’s social platforms.

Improving Production Quality and Prepare for New TV series Shooting

The Group will continue to strengthen free TV content offered to audiences, and aim to seek suitable opportunities for international cooperation, as well as to commence production of new television series. The Group will further provide online-to-offline (O2O) content promotion solutions. The Group intends to leverage developing viewing habits and continue to optimize content delivery over the internet. The Group will continue investing in its multimedia business.

In October 2022, the Company has secured the exclusive broadcast rights of ‘The 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022’ in Hong Kong and will produce creative programmes that cater to the preference of the public, continuing the stellar reputation for our coverage of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Continue to Build ‘i-CABLE News’ Branding

Being recognised as the first 24-hour TV news channel in Hong Kong, i-CABLE will continue to develop the ‘i-CABLE News’ brand, providing news content to our 3 free TV channels which includes Hong Kong International Business Channel (Channel 76), HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment Channel (Channel 78). The i-CABLE News team will strive to create an omnichannel, one-stop media platform to live stream press conferences and major events in the city.

The i-CABLE News team will bring in more content for the audience. Besides our top rated programmes ‘City Focus’, ‘Let’s Talk’ and ‘Money and Wisdom’, ‘World Living’ and ‘Anchor Focus’ Season 2 will be released during 2023Q2. Moreover, new programmes will also be rolled out gradually, such as ‘領航之星’, a talk show in Mandarin interviewing corporate executives in mainland China, ‘Closer Look’, an in-depth English news programme, and ‘家家有求’, focuses on fixing interior design problems.

‘Channel 18’ Evolving to Multimedia Platforms

‘Channel 18’ has been horse racing fans’ favourite in recent years. i-CABLE will explore live streaming the horse racings on social media platforms, ‘Racing GPS’ mobile app and other channels. ‘Racing GPS’ will continue to increase more entertaining and high quality horse racing programs to cater for the demand of current customers and attract new users.

Mr. TSANG On Yip, Patrick, Vice-chairman and Executive Director, i-CABLE Communications Limited said, “The continuous strategic transformation of i-CABLE will enhance the resources efficiency of our media business to take on the new opportunities arising from the structural changes in local free TV market in recent year and eventually, create new value for i-CABLE. As always, we will fully support the business development of i-CABLE and work with all staff side by side to bring our businesses to the next level. I hereby would like to thank you all CABLE TV customers for their continuous support in the past years and look forward to having all your support in our free TV channels, which are Hong Kong International Business Channel (Channel 76), HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment Channel (Channel 78), to continue CABLE TV’s spirit in providing quality TV programmes to Hong Kong people.”

Links: i-CABLE Communications