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April 2017

BBC First sometimes

BBC First (on Now TV in Hong Kong) claims to be “the home of premium drama from the BBC. Enjoy all new shows brought to you first and on demand”.

So - Sherlock season 4, that would be on BBC First?  Well, yes it is in other parts of Asia, but in Hong Kong you need to pay an extra $70 to watch the three episodes on another Now TV service!

BBC First does have season 3 of Sherlock (from three years ago), and they have recently added the special episode “The Abominable Bride” (January 2016), so maybe we can look forward to season 4 a year from now.

To be fair, they are showing the new season of Doctor Who, as well as a few current BBC prime time dramas (Silent Witness, SS-GB, Call the Midwife, and Death in Paradise), a couple of ITV dramas (In Plain Sight and Unforgotten) plus daytime BBC’s Father Brown.

Singapore and Malaysia now have BBC Player, a streaming service similar to iPlayer, and this has a wider range of programming (though only a small fraction of what is on iPlayer in the UK).  No idea whether this eventually come to Hong Kong or even what shows will be available, and maybe they will still try to sell the top shows separately!


Soggy with a hint of Brexit

Cultural insight alert: Chinese consumers “prefer a hot, rice-based breakfast to cold cereal.”

Chinese company buys 60% of The Weetabix food company.  Less than five years later, they sell it on to a large US firm.  Seems like an everyday tale of international commerce.  But that’s too dull.  No, it’s because the Chinese company failed to persuade enough Chinese people to change their eating habits.  Or maybe it’s about Brexit.  Here’s the BBC:

Weetabix to be sold to US company Post Holdings

UK cereal firm Weetabix is to be bought by US firm Post Holdings for $1.8bn (£1.4bn), its owner has confirmed.  Weetabix - made in the UK since 1932 - was put up for sale in January by China's Bright Food, which bought a 60% stake in 2012.

Bright's acquisition was the largest by a Chinese firm at the time, but it is believed to have struggled to build significant market share in China.

Chinese consumers prefer a hot, rice-based breakfast to cold cereal.  While Weetabix doubled sales in China in 2016, the UK still accounts for the majority of its sales.

[..] "Weetabix has struggled to crack the Chinese market, so it is no surprise to see Bright Food selling up," said George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Struggled?  I’d say that doubling sales in one year is fairly impressive, and of course the UK is far and away their biggest market and that was unlikely to change any time soon. 

Continue reading "Soggy with a hint of Brexit" »


MTR to increase Airport Express fares

From Hong Kong Free Press:

MTR Airport Express to increase fares for the first time in its history in June

Hong Kong’s Airport Express MTR line is set to increase fares by 10.3 percent in June – the first fee hike since it came into operation in 1998.

According to a Tuesday Legislative Council document, fares for journeys between the airport and the city proper, paid using an Octopus card, are set to rise by HK$5-HK$10. [..]

The MTR has never adjusted fees for the Airport Express, except in 2000 and 2001 when it cancelled discounts introduced at the time of the line’s opening.

Well, that’s not quite true.  Last year they increased the prices for the group tickets by around 12%, as noted here (Hong Kong not so good–Airport Express).