TVB orbits China deal

Deal would be big blow to Phoenix

HONG KONG — After seven years of negotiations, dominant terrestrial net TVB is in final talks with mainland government-owned giant China Central Television (CCTV) to rebroadcast programs on each other’s channels.

The seduction hasn’t been easy. Ever since the territory was handed back to China in 1997, Hong Kong companies have been subject to stringent government restrictions on foreign media. It isn’t clear whether the government is relaxing those rules, but it did turn a blind eye when TVB began broadcasting to southern China, amassing a mainland aud of millions.

News of the deal comes as a blow to satellite TV broadcaster Phoenix, which boasts 150 million mainland viewers and was hoping to secure a similar rebroadcasting deal with CCTV.

Meanwhile, CCTV is believed to be discussing a rebroadcasting arrangement with AOL Time Warner.