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PCCW to axe pay TV service

PCCW chairman Richard Li acquired iTV when he took over HK Telecom in 2000
PCCW chairman Richard Li acquired iTV when he took over HK Telecom in 2000  

By Ravi Hiranand

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Pacific Century CyberWorks will close its pay television service, iTV, according to a spokeswoman.

The company on Thursday applied to the Hong Kong government to exit the pay TV business and remove itself from license obligations.

"[It] will be good news as iTV has been loss-making," Herbert Lau, research director at Celestial Asia Securities told Reuters this morning.

The move did not come as a surprise. Analysts also told Reuters that the market expected PCCW to scrap iTV last year.

PCCW, which has seen iTV's subscriber base plummet to a few thousand from a peak of 90,000 two years ago, has shifted resources from the television company to its multimedia Web site

Focus on

Spokeswoman Joan Wagner told CNN that the remaining employees at iTV have been moved to PCCW's and customers of the defunct network will be offered a customer migration package.

"A few months ago we already folded iTV into our service so there will be no impact on staff or customers," said Wagner.

"We want to focus on as our one-content business."

PCCW claims has over 100,000 subscribers. The website is a broadband multimedia provider primarily for customers of the company's Netvigator internet service provider.

Leftover from HK Telecom

iTV was launched in February 1998 as Hong Kong Telecom's broadband TV-on-demand channel.

A joint venture was planned with Star TV but fell apart as HK Telecom was bought by PCCW in 2000.

iTV has been on "maintenance mode" since PCCW took over, as the focus slowly shifted to The list of programs on iTV's website hasn't been updated since May.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 1.14 percent in trading on Thursday but PCCW's shares fell 0.57 percent.




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