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Call for HK interactive TV to show viewership

Call for HK interactive TV to show viewership

By Sharon Desker Shaw by  Media Asia 28-Jan-05, 06:26

The city’s newly-launched 24-hour interactive television channel — called Interactive Channel — is pushing to attract serious advertising dollars, but agencies insist it must make a compelling case to prove viewership first.

Founder and chairman of Interactive Channel Company Robert Chua believes the convergence of broadcast TV, the internet and mobile networking technology, coupled with infotainment-based programming, will appeal to advertisers.

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Launched on Hong Kong's pay-TV Channel 27 on December 12, followed by cable operator CTI, the channel will also be available throughout the world on the internet through Hutchison Global Communications broadband network by month's end, said Chua. "The channel breaks new ground, combining traditional TV with the internet and mobile communications," said Chua, a former TVB pioneer, who created the Miss Hong Kong Pageant and the successful Enjoy Yourself Tonight show.

Chua described his new venture as a true cross-media offer, saying viewers could interact using webcams and phones during live broadcasts. He said the channel would be pushing the boundaries of technological convergence with plans to extend access for interaction to video and 3G phones shortly.

Unlike Europe's game-oriented interactive channels, Chua said Interactive Channel hada variety of shows on top of its gaming offer. Live shows are broadcast during primetime, which starts at 6pm on weekends and 8pm on weekdays and ends at 1am.

Primetime shows include i-Talk, a talk show that combines SMS, webcam and web chat for the audience to interact with host, ex-TVB veteran news anchor Li Chan Wing; i-Chat, which discusses topics of interest to young adults; and i-Football, hosted by activist and newly-elected legislator Leung Kwok Hung, sharing his views on football rather than politics. The channel is also running a game show, with a grand prize of HK$1 million (about US$128,000), and plans to launch a show focusing on love, intimacy and sex once a host is found.

Chua said he was open to creating formats that would fit in with advertisers' marketing objectives. He cited the possibility of retailers such as a supermarket chain hosting a daily half-hour segment that could be part cooking demonstration and part announcement for the day's specials.

While the channel's cable and internet platforms provided an upscale audience, ad agencies believe more eyeballs will be needed to appeal to mass market advertisers. One agency head who has seen the channel, DDB Asia's chairman Aaron Lau, said the station would need to confront the "vision versus pragmatism" issue. "He's got a good product, but at the moment, coverage is small and awareness of the channel is limited," said Lau.

K K Tsang, MindShare Hong Kong CEO, added: "The channel must prove it has the viewership numbers in order to sell itself to advertisers."

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