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Cable TV Hong Kong
Cable resized.png
Launched October 31, 1993
Owned by i-CABLE Communications Limited
Broadcast area Hong Kong
Headquarters Hong Kong
Formerly called Wharf Cable (before 1998)

Cable TV Hong Kong (Hong Kong Cable/HKCTV), previously known as Wharf Cable before October 1998, is owned and operated by i-CABLE Communications Limited. It is the first subscription television service provider in Hong Kong, offering a broad range of information and entertainment to its viewers through over 100 different pay channels, of which 54 are produced by HKCTV.



Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (HKCTV) was renamed in October 1998 from Wharf Cable. Being the second subscription-based TV after the Rediffusion Television (RTV) established in 1957, HKCTV obtained its 12-years Subscription Television Broadcasting Licence from the HKSAR Government in 1993. Since 31 October 1993, its multi-channel pay-television service began to operate for Hong Kong viewers. Along with its establishment, HKCTV has onset the trend of using multi-channel pay-television services in Hong Kong. The rise of this service provides a greater variety of alternatives for entertainment and information to Hong Kong viewers.

Having the largest number of subscribers among other subscription television companies in Hong Kong, HKCTV has now become one of the top five media groups in Hong Kong. In particular, HKCTV has a firm establishment in news, movies and sports television programming. As announced in the Financial Summary of i-CABLE Communications Limited of 2004, its sales revenue reaches HK$ 2,372 million with a profit of HK$ 296 million.



Hong Kong Cable Television Limited is owned as a subsidiary group of The Wharf (Holdings) Limited, which holds 73.3% of HKCTV's shares. The rest of its ownership lies with public shareholders. It became a public listed company in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 1999.

Specifically, HKCTV is operated by i-CABLE Communications Limited (I-Cable), one of the non-media conglomerates in Hong Kong. The conglomerate manages the first pay-TV service as well as a well-established broadband Internet access service provider with its Internet Protocol network. I-Cable is now the only integrated communications company in Hong Kong. It owns and runs the second largest two-way broadband network which produces its own media programmes, together with online news and other Internet services.

Target audience

HKCTV originally targeted the middle-class subscribers who would be willing to pay for a diversified choice of local and international programmes. Afterwards, it adopted a price discrimination marketing scheme charging residents of public estates with lower prices when compared to the private housing residents. Along with lowered prices, subscribers from the working class can also enjoy benefited services that come along with the combo offered, such as cheaper phone line services from Wharf Holdings Limited and broadband internet access services from I-Cable. Occasionally, HKCTV would use "give-away" marketing strategies to attract more subscribers such as its 12th Anniversary combo; subscribers would be gifted with a DVD recorder upon subscription to their combos. These business strategies have successfully increased HKCTV's sales to over 540,000 current subscribers as well as free news (Newsline Express) on Hong Kong's KCRC Railway.


HKCTV, producing over 10,000 hours of programming per year, claims to be the largest television programme producer in Hong Kong. It offers around 100 locally produced and international channels featuring news, drama series, movies and documentaries. A variety of fields are covered, including current affairs, science, culture, music, and sports.



Cable TV news car parked in Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

i-CABLE News Limited(Cable News Hong Kong) offers four own-made local news channels, including a 24-hour, half-hourly basis news channel. It also has a supplementary channel providing forcast on world weather.

  • Local News
    • i-CABLE Weather Channel(Channel 6)
    • i-CABLE Top News Channel(Channel 7)
    • i-CABLE Finance Info Channel(Channel 8)
    • i-CABLE News Channel(Channel 9)
    • i-CABLE Live News Channel(Channel 10)

There were previously two channels about traffic updates on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Shatin & Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun Highway. They were stopped boardcasting until the end of July 2009.


HKCTV offers numerous sports programmes with the emphasis on top quality football tournaments matches. HKCTV is one of very few broadcasting companies showing the important leagues in Europe; it was even appointed as the official broadcaster of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. HKCTV's leading position in sports programmes is further strengthened by Cable Sports and 6 other sports channels featuring international and national events such as NBA basketball, Premier League, the 10th National Games and soccer betting.

More recently, Cable's sports attractions have been decreased due to its competitor, now TV having taken the broadcasting rights to many of the channels, such as ESPN and Star Sports.

Moreover, Now TV had won the broadcasting right of English Premier League for the next three years.

However, Cable TV announces through IOC that they have the broadcast rights across all media platforms for the Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012 in Hong Kong.[1] This is the first time in history that the two free-to-air channels (TVB and ATV) didn't get the broadcast rights. The free-to-air channels and critics have expressed concerns that the Olympic games should be provided to as many audiences as possible. However, Cable TV only has pay TV channels and satellite TV channels currently.


Since July 2006, Cable's Movie Channels: HBO, Cinemax have not been presented on its platform anymore, as its main competitor, now TV, had gained the exclusive broadcasting rights.

There are currently 4 movie channels, all Cable TV home-made: HMC 1 (Hollywood Movie Channel 1), HMC 2 (Hollywood Movie Channel 2), Movie 1 (Chinese movies) and Movie 2 (foreign language movies other than English).


One of the features of HKCTV is its variety of flavours for its viewers when compared to other corporate television channels in Hong Kong. For instance, Channel 18 provides the latest local and international financial information as well as horse racing programmes. To meet the tastes of different members in a family, HKCTV offers family-oriented channels featuring programs concerning entertainment, cartoons, music and trends.

Its International Pack is also a remarkable package aiming to accommodate Hong Kong residents originated from overseas. It is an incorporated pack with overseas international channels like Australia Network, NHK World Premium and NHK World TV, Arirang TV, Deutsche Welle-TV and The Filipino Channel. This does not only facilitate the entertainment variety of the above-mentioned viewers but also help to spread the culture of the channels' originated countries.


HKCTV is operated through two separate yet complementary networks, namely the wireless Multipoint Microwave Distribution System coaxial network (MMDS) and the wireline Hybrid Fibre coaxial network (HFC). The combined networks serve 1.70 million viewers, which take up 95% of the local households.

MMDS is a programming broadcasted through specific transmitters throughout Hong Kong. Broadcast signals are released from the transmitters to various "dishes" which are located on the rooftops of buildings, and are further transmitted to customers' televisions through the in-built coaxial cable.

The HFC network consists of a fibre optic backbone which forms the base of the whole broadcast centre. It develops into smaller "branches" and penetrates into different areas in Hong Kong along the MTR tunnels, ending in customers' homes through the coaxial cable that the MMDS uses. This network enables high capacity which allows HKCTV to house over 31 channels as well as other telecommunication services.

Multi-media service

Taking the advantage of i-CABLE's comprehensive optical fiber and cord network, the group dived into the swiftly expanding Internet market. Its multi-media service center was found in January 1999 to facilitate the development of the second core business that the group eagerly aims to expand. The group started the dial-up Internet service in March 1999, with subscriptions climbing to 185,000 in October 2000. This huge number took up 10% of the dial-up Internet service market. In March 2000, it further developed into a cable modem-based broadband service. This service proved to be successful when the service crept to the local households at an average rate of 80,000 homes per month, resulting in a total of 700,000 homes by October 2000. It is thus not surprising that the Group has the fastest development in expanding its cable modem service in the world.

The skyhigh-speed broadband network service was presented after the acquisition of the certification of telecommunications service. Its provision of a 24-hour online broadband network service made the surfing speed faster and steadier than the traditional dial-up network. The outstanding basic service construction and sales tactics successfully made the group one of the two main broadband network service suppliers in Hong Kong.

The visual content of HKCTV provides the platform for the multi-media service unit to develop fee-charging portals on news, movies, horse racing, stocks and adult entertainment.21126888.comas well as HKCTV e-Programme Listing were also designed to provide value added services to HKCTV's subscribers and advertisers. Besides, provides an online platform for its advertisers.

Since 2005, the company have also launched its "Multi-Media On Board" (MMOB) service on public transit vehicles. HKCTV's Hong Kong Cable News Express is the sole airtime sales distributor and content provider to KCR Newsline Express. Instant and updated news are broadcast between the various railway notices of KCR journeys through the use of KCR's Passenger Information Display System, also known as PIDS. This further emphasises HKCTV's theme of providing updated news to its viewers, even when its viewers are not sitting in front of a television or computer. This is also a useful marketing tactic to attract more clients to its home subscriptions after experiencing its instantaneous service. Simultaneously, it gains income and reputation from advertisers for interactive advertising in KCR, one of the most essential transport systems in Hong Kong.

Competition and development

HKCTV is the second subscription-based TV station in Hong Kong apart from the 1957 Rediffusion Television (RTV). Before the liberalisation of the pay-TV market, the market was dominated by HKCTV and iTV, previously a subsidiary of Cable & Wireless HKT, currently owned by PCCW. In 1999, the HKSAR Government invited bids to open up the Pay TV market so as to give consumers more choices. The pay-TV market was officially opened for bid in early July 2000, leading to its expeditious development. Its opening also led to the increase in competitions for programming and market shares, as evidenced in the various extensive use of advertising and propaganda.

According to the Hong Kong Annual Reports 2003- Telecommunications, there were four domestic pay television programme service licensees in Hong Kong:

By the end of 2003, a total of 130 pay TV channels have become available in Hong Kong. The total number of subscribers has exceeded 860,000. With the entry of new competitors such as NOW Broadband TV and TVB Pay Vision, increasing competition is expected in the future Pay-TV market.

Comparatively, HKCTV would have a lower flexibility if compared to its new competitor NOW Broadband TV. This is because HKCTV sells its channels and services to its subscribers through fix-priced packages and the preset and prepaid subscription packages determine the viewers' choice of programmes. On the other hand, NOW Broadband TV's subscribers enjoy greater flexibility in choosing which channels to watch at will on a monthly pay-per-view basis without a need of prior application to the company. Thus, the contract period is shorter and the cost is minimised for users who might not be interested in all the programmes in the offered package. Moreover, subscribers to PCCW's Netvigator broadband services would enjoy certain free trial channels along with their internet service subscription. In this sense, along with the overlapping of numerous incorporated international channels, HKCTV has a less privileged stand in competition since all of its services are only available to its pay-television service subscribers.

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