Hong Kong's Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) plans to shut down its ailing pay-TV service, iTV, in September and hand its video-on-demand (VoD) licence back to the Broadcasting Authority.
ITV offers interactive services such as VoD, home shopping and broadband internet access and was billed as the world's first VoD platform when it was launched four years ago. However it failed to provide much competition for dominant player, i-Cable Communications, which has held a virtual monopoly in the Hong Kong pay-TV market since 1993.
The decision to close the moribund service was widely expected. Richard Li's PCCW inherited iTV when it acquired Cable & Wireless HKT in 2000 but didn't appear to be investing in the service. Subscriber levels have fallen to just a few thousand from 90,000 two years ago.
UK-owned Yes Television is now the only pay-TV operator to offer VoD in Hong Kong, but is still conducting trials in a handful of residential areas. The Hong Kong government issued five pay-TV licences in 2000 in an attempt to liberalise the sector, but only Yes and Taiwan's Pacific Digital Media have since launched services.