News Corp-owned Star TV has withdrawn its application to operate a pay-TV service in Hong Kong in favour of providing content to the recently-liberalised Hong Kong pay-TV market.

Star TV subsidiary, Hong Kong DTV, was one of five companies granted pay-TV licences by the Hong Kong authorities in July this year. As recently as November, Star TV chairman James Murdoch stated that the company was sticking by its decision to launch a platform, despite the fact that other licensees were reportedly having second thoughts (ScreenDaily, November 10). However Star TV spokesperson Jannie Poon explained that the company had "reassesed" its position.

"If you have a licence you have to run a platform and right now it's more important for us to provide programming rather than run our own platform," Poon said. "Suddenly there are more choices open to us with four pay-TV players."

Observers have questioned whether the tiny Hong Kong market can sustain four or five competing pay-TV services. The other four licensees - UK video-on-demand operator Yes Television, TVB's Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, Chinese communications company Hong Kong Network TV and Taiwan's Pacific Digital Media - were formally granted licences on Tuesday (December 5).