Domestic Pay Television Programme Services

PictureOn the pay television front, the aggregate number of domestic pay television subscribers increased to over 1.2 million, representing a growth of 23% over the previous year and a market penetration of 54.5%. The number of channels grew by 27% from 163 to 207 over the previous year with an increasing emphasis on local programming. Our technology-neutral regulatory regime and light-handed regulatory approach encouraged the employment of new technologies. We are pleased to say that Hong Kong is one of the world leaders in adopting Internet Protocol television (IPTV) technology.

Apart from programme enhancement, pay television licensees also competed vigorously in terms of both new multimedia services and prices. A variety of new value-added services, including video-on-demand services and interactive online cinema ticketing services were launched. There are also plans for HDTV to be introduced on the pay television platform. The pay television licensees also competed on the subscription packages on offer, including packages bundled with Internet access. One licensee offered a-la-carte options at a price as low as $5 for one subscription channel. As a result, pay television has become more affordable to more customers in Hong Kong than ever before.

I am pleased to learn that according to a recent Study on the Effective Regulation of the Pay-Television Industry in the Asia Pacific conducted by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia, Hong Kong, together with Japan, came out on top in the Asia Pacific region in terms of regulatory effectiveness. Our regulatory environment has helped to boost competition, investment and revenue generation in the pay television industry. The annual industry investment in Hong Kong reached US$393 per pay television household over the past three years from 2002 to 2004.

Non-domestic Television Programme Services

In the year under review, the number of satellite television channels uplinked by the 13 non-domestic television programme service licensees increased by 121% from 61 to 135. Their services covered footprints in Asia, Australasia, Europe and Africa. These operators include subsidiaries of renowned international media groups like News Corporation and Time Warner Inc. Their presence helps to strengthen Hong Kong's position as a regional broadcasting hub.

Fostering Competition

Competition regulation is another major responsibility of the Authority. In 2005, the Authority completed the investigation of two competition complaints alleging anti-competitive conduct in relation to the exclusive supply of television programmes.

Protecting Viewers' Interests

One of the major tasks of the Authority is to secure proper standards of broadcast content for protection of public morals and viewers' interests. In the year under review, the Authority processed close to 4,200 complaint cases related to broadcast content. To facilitate the development of the industry, the Authority reviewed and amended certain outdated provisions in the codes of practice on programme and advertising standards so as to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens on the licensees.


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