Hong Kong’s largest broadband service provider PCCW-HKT has relaunched its video-on-demand (VoD) pay-TV service under a new brand, Now Select, in an effort to regain losses from previous venture Interactive TV, which it shut down four years ago after five years in operation. Now Select is being offered to subscribers of PCCW’s Now broadband TV platform as part of a bundle with existing Now channels as a value added service rather than as a stand-alone service like Interactive TV. The Star Chinese Movie channel will be the first to provide content to the Now Select service under the SCM Choice brand name. SCM subscribers paying USD42 per month will be able to get VoD for an extra USD15 a month, giving them unlimited access to an archive of films.
PCCW’s relaunch is designed to strengthen its position in the broadband TV sector, where it competes against rival i-Cable Communications. Cable Television, an i-Cable unit, has around 710,000 subscribers compared with 450,000 customers of Now TV, some of whom obtained the service for free. PCCW-HKT offers broadband access through its NETVIGATOR internet service which has coverage of around 95% of the population. It had 795,000 subscribers at the end of June 2005, of which over 80% are residential customers. The telco also provides a NETVIGATOR wireless broadband service, available in more than 350 hotspots. i-Cable also competes with PCCW in the broadband internet access sector, where it had 300,000 subscribers, or 16% of the market, at the end of June 2005.