Costs blamed for Hitron changes

Business

Recent changes in the packages of Hitron channels are due to increased content costs from overseas providers, according to Digicel.
Senior vice-president and chief sales officer Lorna McPherson told The National that downward pressure on the kina and US dollar exchange rate also resulted in their pay TV content being purchased in US dollars.
“A reduction in available bandwidth forces a reduction in the Hitron television channels available in Port Moresby,” she said.
McPherson said total channel numbers on Hitron’s Post Pay TV service in Port Moresby had been reduced due to:

  • Requirement by National Information and Communications Technology Authority (Nicta) to migrate off the multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS) network and move the Hitron service to its digital terrestrial network where the bandwidth required to duplicate the Hitron service has not been made available;
  • Focus on reducing the number of foreign language and radio add-on channels, affecting a relatively small number of subscribers; and,
  • Continuous reviewing of the channel mix based on customer feedback.

McPherson said the country’s media market was “vibrant and competitive”.
“For a relatively small market with low penetration of television per household, when compared with neighbouring markets, there is an abundance of ways for customers to purchase content,” she said.
Meanwhile, McPherson said that they continued to look at options for Channel 8’s fibre network in Port Moresby.
According to Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, the television service in PNG was not a monopolistic market.
“There are currently about six pay TV providers and three free-to-air (FTA) providers in the country,” it said. “Current pay TV providers include Digicel, Click TV and other small service providers in other centres in the country. FTA providers include EMTV, National Broadcasting Television (NBCTV) and Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN).
“The content that is available in Hitron or Digicel Play may not be available with other operators, thus, raising the issue of content regulation and access, which is outside of ICCC’s power.
“Access content offered by Digicel Play or Hitron is a secondary issue.
“Content regulation and access is the primary issue because most premium content is offered through Digicel’s TV.

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