BesTV to feature 50 live channels, 1,000 hours of skeins

Shanghai Media Group and the Shanghai unit of China Telecom have launched the country’s first commercial Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) service in two districts of China’s biggest city.

BesTV will initially be offered in Shanghai’s Minhang and Pudong districts and extended to the entire city by mid-2006.

Shanghai Media Group will supervise and control content on the network. The two groups will share the income.

BesTV features 50 live broadcast channels and 1,000 hours of skeins, including interactive shopping, Internet access, online games, sport programs, weather and traffic reports. Programming is expected to expand to 3,000-5,000 hours early next year.

Subscribers will pay a promotional rate of 30 yuan ($3.70) a month until March, when the rate will double.

SMG is China’s second-biggest media group, but the launch of BesTV has given it a head start on national broadcaster China Central TV in expanding into the new medium.

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