Fri, Dec 22, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Telecom aims for 2m MOD subscribers

‘IMPORTANT THRESHOLD’:The 2 million figure represents a break-even point for the company, while showing that it is gaining on cable TV rivals, chairman David Cheng said

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday said it aims to increase the number of its multimedia-on-demand (MOD) subscribers to 2 million by next summer, as the number has steadily increased and is forecast to grow 20 percent year-on-year to 1.6 million by the end of this year.

The MOD business has been losing money for 13 years and David Cheng (鄭優), chairman of the nation’s biggest telecom, has made turning around the Internet TV business a top priority since he took the company reins in December last year.

“The figure — 2 million — is an important threshold,” Cheng said at a media briefing.

The figure represents a break-even point for the company and a sign that the MOD business is gathering momentum and gaining against cable TV rivals, Cheng said.

Major cable TV system operators — led by Kbro Co (凱擘) — have registered about 5 million household subscribers, government’s statistics showed.

The increase in MOD subscribers would boost company revenue from the pay-TV business and increase its average revenue per user next year, Cheng said.

The company saw its MOD revenue climb 5.74 percent during the first three quarters of this year to NT$1.85 billion (US$61.69 million) from NT$1.75 billion the previous year after the company implemented a new revenue-sharing mechanism with TV channel operators in July.

Strong growth also came from the company’s efforts to enrich its content offerings, including securing exclusive broadcasting rights for this year’s Taipei Summer Universiade and clinching the deal with 21st Century Fox Inc to exclusively introduce the Fox+ app, it said.

Meanwhile, Cheng yesterday urged the National Communications Commission to relax its rules and allow the company to play a bigger role than just that of an Internet-TV platform provider.

Currently, the company cannot prevent TV channel operators leasing its bandwidth from broadcasting their programs on MOD.

“Chunghwa Telecom’s MOD is equal to a department store, with cable TV operators being the tenants who rent floor space to sell their products. It makes no sense that MOD cannot have a say in what content the cable TV operators are to offer and on how to arrange those channels,” Cheng said.

Chunghwa requested that the commission scrap the ban and allow the company to launch its own TV packages and to operate its own channels.

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