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PCCW cashes in on sports deals with plans to raise Now TV rates

Benjamin Scent

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

PCCW (0008) plans to raise the monthly rates for its Now TV pay television service early next year in the wake of new sports content, TV and content managing director Dominic Leung said Monday.

The monthly fee for the most expensive combination package, which currently includes all channels for HK$388, will be raised to more than HK$400 next year, Leung said.

"That 388 plan includes football," he said.

PCCW's service, which lags behind iCable's Cable TV in subscriber numbers, made headlines recently when it won exclusive rights to broadcast the Uefa Euro 2008 football tournament and the next three years of English Premiership football matches.

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Market sources attribute iCable's success in recent years to its broadcasting of Premiership games, which are popular with Hongkongers.

"We probably will review the prices by January," Leung said. "We haven't fixed the price yet."

In addition to raising rates for the combination package, Leung said PCCW will also raise rates for individual channels carrying the new content.

When PCCW director Alex Arena first announced the Premiership deal, he said Now TV would be offering a price guarantee, which would allow current customers to subscribe to a sports package or an all-channels package at the same rate as before the announcement, allowing them to enjoy the new football content free.

PCCW's Now TV is the world's largest deployment of broadband television, also known as Internet protocol television, or IPTV.

Sources said PCCW paid about HK$400 million for the deal to broadcast the European championship. PCCW won the license to broadcast the Premiership games for an estimated HK$1.56 billion.


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