The Economist writes about PCCW’s trailblazing IPTV service in Hong Kong.

PCCW has, in the past couple of years, done something that fixed-line telecoms firms across the world hope to do in the near future. It launched a television service over broadband phone lines, called Now Broadband TV, that has been a huge commercial success. It could soon dethrone the local cable-TV firm as the dominant provider of pay-TV services. It is also the largest television-over-broadband deployment in the world. As they worry about the encroachment of new competitors on to their turf and search for new sources of revenue, telecoms operators the world over hope to follow Now’s example.

Now also took the unusual step of developing its own set-top box, based on a stripped-down DVD player and produced very cheaply in China. This enabled it to begin its service without waiting for industry standards to emerge. It offered the box free of charge to broadband customers, 93% of whom now take the TV service as well. As its subscriber base grewit exceeds 500,000, or more than 40% of the marketNow was able to poach valuable content, such as sports rights and film channels, from rival pay-TV operators. It recently launched a films-on-demand service, and on March 20th its own Chinese-language business channel.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.