Anyone with a long memory for these things may recall a front-page story in the SCMP a few years ago about a proposed TV service to be provided by Hong Kong Telecom and Star TV (apparently Spike was involved in this in some way). I think they even got a licence from the government to operate the service. Then PCCW bought HKT and decided not to go ahead with the deal (there's some history here, because Richard Li of PCCW had sold Star TV to Rupert Murdoch)
The management of PCCW later changed their mind and decided to offer a TV service over their broadband network (which, for some reason, didn't require a licence from the government). I had assumed that this was mainly about attracting and retaining broadband customers, not about competing with Cable TV.
Not any more - a year ago they signed up ESPN and Star Sports and acquired various other Star-related channels, including Star Movies, that had previously been exclusive to Cable TV. Star World, which is currently available free-of-charge via satellite in most apartment buildings is also available on Now, and will be exclusive from early next year. Those with long memories will recall that Star Sports was also once a free-to-air channel, but has been subscription only for several years.
In addition, Star Movies is already (as of this month) exclusive to PCCW, and the HBO channels will follow next July. I'm not sure about current pricing, but they certainly were charging less than Cable TV for all the movie channels. They also have other channels that aren't on Cable TV, such as BBC Prime and Disney Channel.
Plus, they are adding more channels, including Sky News, Fox News and CNN Headline News. In fact, they now seem to have all the channels that were promised as part of the old HKT offering, and more besides!
Cable TV do still have the English Premier League, but when the current deal expires it seems like a fair bet that Star and PCCW will be bidding aggressively for the rights. Football fans would be very happy if we got the Star coverage coupled with the number of games currently available on Cable TV. Well, I can dream, right?
The other big change is that the Now Broadband TV service has been made available separately from the Netvigator Broadband Internet service which must mean that they are serious about the TV business rather than using it as a value-added service.
Which has to be good news for consumers!