Star TV falls out of orbit with C & W HKT

Joint venture dissolves, companies on different paths

HONG KONG — Less than six months after the alliance was formed, the pay TV and Internet joint venture between Star TV and Cable & Wireless HKT came apart Friday.

James Murdoch, new chairman and CEO of Star, said the joint venture broke up because the two sides did not share the same vision. He stressed that Star was still committed to the pay TV market and the promotion of converged interactive TV.

Richard Li’s Pacific Century Cyberworks, which outbid Star and Singapore Telecommunications to acquire HKT earlier this year, is also pressing ahead with its bid for a pay TV license.

The HK government is expected to announce the successful license applicants at the end of the month.

Slow growth

Star TV president Bruce Churchill reiterated the company’s concerns over the cost and slow subscriber growth by HKT’s video-on-demand service iTV.

Alarm bells began to ring when Star took PCCW execs by surprise by issuing a statement May 29 that cast doubt on their alliance on.

The joint-venture is 60% owned by HKT and 40% by Star TV.

Neither company disclosed when the joint venture would be dismantled, though it is expected to take place immediately.

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