22 October 2016
TVB will launch the new service in March in competition with Netflix. Photos: HKEJ, Netflix
TVB will launch the new service in March in competition with Netflix. Photos: HKEJ, Netflix

TVB to launch fee-based online TV service against Netflix

Television Broadcasts Ltd. is expanding to fee-based TV services with the launch an online TV platform in March.

The network’s myTV Super service, which will air programs via a set-top box, will feature its existing line-up of five free-to-watch channels, 13 fee-based channels and an interactive Disney channel, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Subscribers will be able to watch existing programs on-demand with a monthly fee similar to those of Netflix, which has just announced its service fees in Hong Kong earlier this week.

TVB chief executive Mark Lee Po-on said the TV station must seek new platforms or risk becoming obsolete if it sticks to its free TV broadcasts.

Lee said the changes are inevitable, noting that even his wife has switched to watching TV drama series on the internet while his children are mainly using tablets.

Lee said he does not see anyone replacing TVB’s leader role in the short term, but he cannot say for sure over the long term.

Netflix, the US-based on-demand internet streaming media provider, announced monthly service charges of HK$63 to HK$93 for Hong Kong subscribers, with a free trial in the first month.

Grace Leung Lai-kuen of The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Journalism and Communications said online streaming media has grown at such a fast pace that TV stations simply could not afford to stand still.

Leung predicted the local TV market will continue to develop and flourish in terms of new offerings and variety of choices.

She said newcomers must deploy a long-term strategy in order to acquire a slice of the market.

New online streaming providers must also ensure that their services are stable and smooth, as technical glitches could drive customers away, Leung added.

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