Although TV existed in China in the early 1950s, it became a national service in 1958 with the launch of the state-controlled broadcaster now called China Central Television.
Today, private broadcasters operate alongside CCTV. One of the biggest privately owned television operations in China is Phoenix Satellite TV, which launched in 1996. The company’s shares trade on the Hong Kong exchange, but the stock is considered a part of the MSCI China Investable Market Index. Phoenix operates five channels, including a subscription movie service. About 80% of the movies it shows are Asian; the rest are Hollywood and international pics with Chinese subtitles. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. owns about 18% of Phoenix.
In Hong Kong, Television Broadcasts, known as TVB, began operations in 1967 and distributes free Chinese and English-language programming to 2.34 million homes in Hong Kong. TVB also furnishes Chinese programs to 40 countries around the world.
Global index provider MSCI classifies all of the private television companies in China and Hong Kong as small-capitalization stocks. MSCI also calculated the percentage of the Chinese and Hong Kong stock markets the TV industry represents. For the Chinese market, it’s a relatively tiny 0.09%, but in Hong Kong, television is a significantly more important part of the economy, representing 0.61% of the market. That beats the U.S., where TV companies of all sizes are only 0.33% of the value of the U.S. stock market.
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