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i-Cable woes force creative rethink

Leaking subscriber numbers and an increase in costs have resulted in a net loss of HK$97 million for pay-TV network i-Cable.

In the six months to June this year i-Cable Communications said its poor showing was the result of “economic uncertainties and a challenging operating environment.”

Overall turnover decreased a marginal 1% to $1.03 billion, compared to $1.05 billion in 2011.

The company shed some 12,000 subscribers from its TV service but operating costs jumped 2% to $836 million.

Specific details about the cost of the London 2012 Olympics and its deal with ATV and TVB was not revealed, but programming costs increased 3%.

In the coming year i-Cable said pay-TV subscriber growth was “very unlikely” in what it described as a highly saturated and competitive TV market.

It said hundreds of channels from pay-TV operators and an abundant supply of legal and illegal free content on the internet meant staying ahead of competition was “more challenging than ever.”

With this in mind, the group has implemented a series of initiatives to mobilise and monetise its programming through outside the traditional broadcasting confines.

Better use of the internet and mobile platforms to attract younger customers are part of these plans launched under the platform of “Think Creative”.

“Think Creative is a major focus in this year’s business plan to make the best use of our resources and unleash hidden revenue potential across platforms,” the company said.

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