Interactive TV unit set to shutter

Co. awaiting gov't approval to exit, surrender license

HONG KONG — Once high-flying telco Pacific Century Cyberworks (PCCW) plans to shut down its 4-year-old interactive TV venture, iTV.

Company, headed by Richard Li, is awaiting government approval after submitting an application last week to exit the pay TV business and surrender its video-on-demand license.

Phone monopoly Hongkong Telecom, which became Cable & Wireless HKT before being acquired by PCCW two years ago, originally launched iTV. The service was meant to provide home shopping, video services and Internet access to consumers but failed to maintain a broad base of subscribers.

Staff absorbed

Staff from the iTV unit have been folded into PCCW’s now.com.hk, which offers broadband content for HK$30 ($3.84) a month and has signed up 100,000 customers.

“We’re focusing on the network we see as a success,” said Joan Wagner, a spokeswoman for PCCW. “The iTV pay TV service was always on the sidelines.”

Hong Kong remains a tough market for new pay TV players, with i-Cable Communications continuing to dominate.

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