XFMedia joins digital pay TV boom

Chinese media group makes the move

BEIJING — Chinese media group Xinhua Finance Media is moving into China’s booming digital pay TV market.

XFMedia has bought China Media Network, which holds a 49% interest in Tianjin Shidai Tianchuang, which in turn operates four digital pay TV channels with nationwide coverage.

Tianjin Shidai Tianchuang is seeking regulatory approval to reposition the channels to expand their reach.

XFMedia will make an initial cash payment of $5 million and a further $10 million cash plus shares if the channels are successfully repositioned and other conditions are met.

The digital pay TV market in China has entered what Morgan Stanley in June called a “hyper growth phase.”

The number of households in China with digital pay TV connections grew to 27.3 million last year from 12.9 million in 2006, XFMedia said, citing a report by Informa Telecoms and Media Group.

That number is expected to rise to 123 million by 2013 — half of all digital pay TV connections in the Asia Pacific region. By that time the region’s pay TV market will be worth an estimated $45 billion.

Beijing-based XFMedia has TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, outdoor, online and other media assets.

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