THE Hongkong-based satellite TV channel started by Singaporean
Robert Chua, China Entertainment Television Broadcast Limited
(CETV), will be taken off the air here from March 15.
A spokesman for cable TV operator Singapore Cable Vision (SCV)
said SCV's contract with CETV is expiring this month.
It was not renewed because Singapore's cable TV network is
'overcrowded', especially with two more channels coming from
Singapore Press Holding's MediaWorks soon, he said.
'Our surveys also indicated that the CETV programmes lacked
variety, and are not very popular with viewers here,' he added.
Still, the news came as a surprise to those viewers from
Singapore who still wish to watch its shows on SCV's channel 53.
Some, in fact, had supported the channel when it was on the verge
of collapse about 3 1/2 years ago.
Their feelings are summed up aptly by hawker Ng Ching Ching, 65,
who said: 'This is a Singaporean channel we are very proud of. We
rallied behind it when it faced closure due to financial
'The channel has survived the crisis, yet we will not be able to
watch its programmes in Singapore soon.'
Madam Ng was among the thousands of viewers across Asia who gave
both money and moral support when CETV ran into financial trouble
after its agreement with a consortium of five Chinese partners in
October 1997 failed to materialise.
They donated money and offered words of encouragement to Mr Chua
who launched the channel in 1994 as a 'no sex, no violence and no
news' Mandarin family channel for Chinese all over the world.
CETV's financial woes ended last June when Time Warner Inc, owner
of one of Hollywood's oldest movie studios, a publishing and music
empire, bought into CETV.
Time Warner merged with America Online Inc, and is now known as
AOL Time Warner Inc.
Many Singapore viewers said they were disappointed with CETV's
new programming, which was launched last month.
Businessman Luo Fun Boon, 63, said: 'We thought the programmes
will improve after the take-over by the American company, but it has
turned out to be worse.
'There are more Western programmes now and it is no more a
channel for all Chinese viewers of the world.'
Housewife Grace Koh, 49, who had appealed to SCV against taking
CETV off the air, said: 'They are running ancient TV series like
Lassie and Falcon Crest dubbed in Mandarin and I take it as an
insult to us.
'They even cut the channel's top phone-in programme,
Heart-to-heart from 1 1/2 hours nightly to only one hour. And during
the Chinese New Year, there were no new year greetings from the
channel to viewers at all.'
Insurance agent Wong Ying Wai, 51, added: 'And there are too many
cartoon shows now, some are even screened past midnight.'
CETV founder, Mr Chua, who is still the company's chairman, said:
'I am very disappointed with SCV's decision. A new team from my
American partners has taken over the programming and it should be
given more time to prove itself. I hope we can return to our
Singapore viewers in future.'