Television Asia's Executive News
08 January 2007

KBS World enters Russia/CIS market

SeoulKBS World has entered Russia and the CIS cable television sector via Comcor TV (digital) for Russia, Ala TV (digital) for Kyrgyzstan, and Alma TV (analogue) for Kazakhstan. The aim is to expand the ‘Korean Wave’ beyond KBS’ Asian markets.

Basic cable service subscribers in the three countries receive KBS World on a 24-hour schedule daily. KBS World is already featured in basic packages of cable and DTH platforms including US, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. As of December 2006, KBS World reached 32 million households, with a potential audience of 166 million in 38 nations.

KBS World is a general entertainment channel from public service broadcaster Korea Broadcasting Systems. It broadcasts in the Korean language with English sub-titles, offering Korean drama, music, variety, documentary and animation.

Measat Satellite Systems – Astro extend deal

Kuala LumpurMEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd has signed an interim Transponder Lease Agreement with Astro (MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd) for initial Ku-Band transponder capacity on the recently launched MEASAT-3 satellite.

Astro will lease an initial 5 Ku-band transponders in the Malaysian Ku-Band beam from the start of commercial operations of the satellite, expected 1 February 2007. The interim agreement was signed pending finalization and Astro’s shareholder approval of the long-term TLA for MEASAT-3 satellite capacity which lays out Astro's broader requirements for capacity over the 15 year satellite life.

The MEASAT-3 satellite provides C-band coverage to over 100 countries, representing more than 70% of the world's population; and the most powerful Ku-band Direct-to-Home (DTH) coverage for more than 160 million TV households in Malaysia, Indonesia and South Asia.

Hong Kong’s TVB and ATV to adopt Chinese digital standard

Hong KongHong Kong's two terrestrial television broadcasters Television Broadcasts (TVB) and Asia Television (ATV) have agreed to adopt China’s home-grown digital terrestrial television standard. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) received a joint proposal from the two parties and will make its decision by the end of March on the launch of digital broadcast services by the stations.

The Chinese digital terrestrial television standard was developed by Beijing Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. TVB and ATV have conducted laboratory tests of the mainland system in China and field tests in Hong Kong.

The broadcasters are expected to commit HK$400 million (US$51.38 million) each in the next two years to produce programs in digital format. TVB will offer a new HD channel while ATV will add four channels covering business, culture and entertainment.

Fuji TV reigns in Japan

Tokyo– Fuji TV was the top-rating network in Japan in all three time categories for 2006, its third consecutive victory.

According to Video Research, Fuji scored 14.2% for the "golden time" period (7 pm to 10 pm), 14.5% for "prime time" (7 pm to 11 pm) and 9.3% for whole day.

Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) came second for the first time since 1988, with 12.8% for golden time and 12.7% for prime time.

Nippon TV, which was the ratings leader from 1994 to 2003, was second in the whole day category with 8.5%. Fuji was No. 1 for 12 years, from 1982 to 1993.

Google ogling a stake in Chinese website

Shenzhen – Google Inc. will take an undisclosed stake in Shenzhen Xunlei Network Technology Ltd, a website that helps users download videos from the Internet.

Henry Wang, head of Xunlei's operations in Shanghai, confirmed the investment but gave no details, according to China Daily.

Existing investors in Xunlei include IDG Venture Capital and Morningside Asia Advisory Ltd. The Shenzhen website also has partnership agreements with companies such as Motorola Inc, Sina Corp and Shada Interactive Entertainment.

China had 123 million Internet users at the end of June 2006, second only to the United States.

BBC World leads the way in Korea

SeoulBBC World is the first international news channel to supply blocks of programming to Korea’s TU Media platform.

A subsidiary of mobile phone telco SK Telecom, TU Media launched the world’s first satellite-based mobile broadcasting service in May 2005 and attracted more than 50,000 customers in its first month. Its subscriber base has grown to nearly 1 million.

The distribution deal covers BBC World ‘live’ and recorded programs including Asia Business Report, World Business Report and Click, airing daily from 7 am-9 am local time.

TU Media offers 15 video channels incorporating drama, sports, games, news, music and movies as well as 19 audio channels.

Mega-merger in Taiwan’s public television sector

Taiwan Broadcasting Service (TBS) will merge with Hakka TV, Indigenous TV and Taiwan Macroview TV networks. The merger is expected to create a ‘mega-public television network’ under Taiwan’s Public Television Service (PTS) network.

The parties will pool material, personnel and resources, with many programs to be jointly produced by the networks. PTS Chief Executive Officer Hu Yuan Hui said the government will provide funds of NT$1 billion (US$30.36 million) to see TBS through the merger.

Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC) Chairwoman Chang Fu Mei believes the merger will appeal to overseas compatriots, as Taiwan Macroview TV, which caters to expats via cable television and Internet services, will receive new resources.

SIGGRAPH looks to Asia

ACM SIGGRAPH, the world's largest association for professionals in computer graphics and interactive techniques, is examining the idea of staging an annual international conference in Asia, on or around December 1 2007.

Organizers say the event would be of comparable size and scope as the annual SIGGRAPH conference in North America, which runs for six days in August, attended by 20,000 to 30,000 delegates. Its broad range of programs includes technical sessions, a computer animation festival, an art gallery and interactive installation.

The Asian conference would be held in different country each year. ACM SIGGRAPH Vice-President Alyn Rockwood is leading the drive into Asia.

Video news on-demand channel launching in Singapore

Singapore – M2B World Asia Pte Ltd is partnering with Singapore Press Holdings to launch a first-ever SPH video news on-demand channel on Singapore’s First Broadband TV service, inaugurated by M2B World last July.

M2B World will convert, host and stream video news clips produced by SPH, as well as international video news content licensed from Associated Press’ AP Digital Press. Subscribers can access more than 55 channels of local and international content under the M2Btv brand through its Pony set-top box.

This deal further extends the delivery of SPH’s news content across multiple platforms following initiatives such as its recruitment and job search service ST701 and STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging.

Vietnam’s first satellite to fly in May 2008

HanoiVietnam’s first satellite, Vinasat-1, is due to launch in May 2008. The satellite has 20 transponders and a 15-year life span, with television broadcasting options being the satellite’s main service.

Vietnam Telecoms International (VTI) stated Vinasat-1 will cater to an expected rise in the number of local television stations, with increased usage by foreign television stations also in prospect.

Vinasat-1 will cover Japan, China, Korea, India, the ASEAN region, Australia, South China Sea and parts of Myanmar. A satellite control station will be established in Hoai Duc district, northern Ha Tay province, with a standby facility to be built in southern Binh Duong province’s Ben Cat district.

Now is the time for Dim Sum TV

Hong Kong – Dim Sum Television Company Limited has signed a deal with Hong Kong’s now TV to carry its new Chinese-language infotainment channel.

Broadcast primarily in Cantonese, Dim Sum TV is the first infotainment channel focusing on culture and lifestyle trends and social and economic developments in the Greater Pearl River Delta region.

Dim Sum TV plans to gradually extend its coverage across the whole Pearl River Delta, Greater China and to expat Chinese communities in the Pacific Basin.

The channel’s programming includes Do You Know Me? which uses interactive psychological tests and interviews with specialists to help viewers maintain a healthy mindset; Talk of Fame, interviews with prominent people from Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong; The Price Scanner, which highlights smart consumer choices and attitudes; Trends & The Cities; and game show Pearl River Delta Code.

China’s mobile video market to boom in 2008

ABI Research believes the mobile video market in China will get a major boost from the Beijing Olympics, and forecasts mobile video users in China will exceed 32 million in 2008.

ABI projects about 27% of consumers will use broadcasting technology, 73% will access via unicast streaming technology, and there will be some overlap between the two.

The Chinese government will give preference to the standard which will be used in the 2008 Olympics, with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) being one of the broadcast services available. ABI Research Director Jake Saunders expects media groups and television stations to deploy Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) before eventually implementing Terrestrial Digital Mobile Broadcasting (T-DMB).

Saunders said the current shortage of content is holding back mobile video in mainland China as the number of handset TV SP licenses is still limited. With more licenses to be issued before 2008, competition is expected to drive up the market.

ABI Research also forecasts 715,000 mobile video users in Hong Kong in 2008, of which 99% will be streaming users; and 1.5 million mobile video users in Taiwan in 2008 (97% streaming).

On Hong Kong, the SAR’s mobile operators’ experience in mobile video streaming services and international operations is expected to facilitate provision of diversified content to users, especially as PCCW has been operating an IPTV network.