Hallmark gives Yes a leg up in H.K.

Two other players have already pulled out of feevee race

HONG KONG — British-based Yes Television is beating other new entrants in the battle for the pay TV market.

Company announced Wednesday that its trial service, being tested in a middle-class suburb, will carry Crown Media Holdings’ Hallmark Channel and its subsidiary, Crown Interactive.

It’s a logical fit for the duo. Yes is the first Hong Kong service to combine video-on-demand with Internet access via a set-top box, the ideal medium for Crown Interactive to roll out programs such as “Crayola Kids Club,” an interactive crafts service for children.

Deal also suggests Yes is gaining valuable momentum in the troubled Hong Kong pay TV market.

Two of the original players, including News Corp.-owned Star, have already pulled the plug on plans to roll out feevee services in the city’s newly liberalized market.

Galaxy bid unmapped

Galaxy, a subsid of TVB, the city’s biggest terrestrial network, has yet to confirm whether it will go ahead with its bid.

Yes is the only company offering any good news. Earlier this month, it joined forces with China Light & Power, a local utility company that’s expanding into new media, telecom and broadband services.

The Hallmark linkup is a good sign that this time, a Hong Kong pay TV player may get off the ground.

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