Thu, Dec 28, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Kinpo, Formosa form partnership

SAY YES TO TV In a bid to compete with traditional service providers, the two partners will soon launch a new Web-based platform that shows great promise

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eyeing the flourishing online multimedia market, Kinpo Group (金仁寶集團) and Formosa Group (台塑集團) have joined forces to tap into its potential and will launch an Internet TV portal next month.

"We want our share of booming digital multimedia pie and to attract more investors who might be interested in following our lead," Kinpo chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄) told reporters at an event yesterday to announce the service's celebrity spokesman.

By investing in the upcoming "Yes! TV" platform, Hsu said Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信), the nation's only fully third-generation operator, will also benefit, as it will be able to source contents from the TV site and offer some of it to its phone subscribers.

Vibo Telecom is an affiliate of Kinpo, which also owns laptop-computer maker Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦) and handset maker Compal Communications Inc (華寶通訊).

Kinpo and Formosa have each committed an investment of NT$20 million (US$611,640) to set up Yes Digital Multimedia Co (普華數位多媒體), the operator of Yes! TV.

The two companies will each obtain a 30 percent stake in Yes Digital, which has a total capital of NT$66.6 million.

Slated to kick off formal operations in mid-January, the Yes! TV platform will feature nearly 5,000 programs -- including movies, dramas and serials -- which can be viewed online or be downloaded.

In order to attract customers, most of the content will be free. Revenues will be generated via advertisement windows showing while the content is being viewed, Yes Digital president Malone Yin (尹天賜) said.

Yin, whose company has obtained the support of scores of TV stations and studios at home and abroad, is confident that Yes! TV will receive a positive response from Taiwan's large population of Internet users.

Citing a survey by ACNielsen, Yin said that after TV, cyberspace has become the second-largest advertisement environment.

But as the Internet only accounts for 6 percent of the local advertising market, there is room for expansion, he said.

However, the success of Yes! TV remains uncertain as it will be competing with more traditional players with proven business models.

Webs-tv.net (網絡數碼), Taiwan's largest online multimedia service provider, currently has 850,000 paying subscribers to its "Webs-tv" Internet TV platform, which offers archives of variety shows, talk shows, movies, dramas and adult entertainment.

Subscribers to Webs-tv can choose between the pay-per-view option or pay monthly subscription fees ranging from NT$80 to NT$380, depending on range of content.

Webs-tv.net, chaired by Morse Chen (陳銘堯), has pursued an aggressive expansion strategy and has turned into an online multimedia giant.

After acquiring Gigigaga.com from GigaMedia Ltd (和信超媒體) earlier this year, it bought GigaMedia's ADSL unit in May and integrated its own Web service with the Yam Digital Technology Co (蕃薯藤數位科技) portal in September.

Last Friday, the Fair Trade Commission gave the green light to Webs-tv.net's acquisition of all 128 outlets of the movie rental chain Blockbuster Inc Taiwan.

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