Nov 30, 2006

Loss of EPL throws a shadow over i-Cable's prospects

The news that Hong Kong's dominant pay-TV operator i-Cable had conceded the war for the English Premier League (EPL) local broadcasting rights to bitter rival Now TV for an estimated price tag of US$200 million, has led to speculation that the market leader has, at best, clouded its future.

Over the last 12 to 18 months, Now TV has closed the gap on i-Cable, boosting its subscriber base to around 610,000 although it's worth noting 60,000 are estimated to be free subscribers compared with i-Cable's 770,000, on the back of a series of savvy 'exclusive' deals with leading content providers.

According to industry forecasts, the recent deal for what is arguably the world's most-watched annual sporting competition, could herald a seismic shift in viewers from i-Cable to...

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