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Gehua Peak Daily HD Viewership Exceeds 3 Mln, 11/18/11

According to recent figures from Beijing-based cable and broadband operator Gehua CATV Network (600037.SH), the operator has single-day viewing records of 3.06 mln subscribers for HDTV viewing, 1.03 mln subscribers for time-shifted playback, and 330,000 subscribers for on-demand programming.

Luo Xiaobu, Gehua CATV's director of market operations, said that the operator would release a simplified remote controller in December based on subscriber feedback. The controller will feature enlarged buttons for easier use by the elderly, and will feature glow-in-the-dark buttons for easier use at night.

Luo said that Gehua had been testing premium TV content for less than half a month, and had received a large number of inquiries about the service from interested Beijing residents. The operator's current premium viewing options offer per-title, per-month, and six-month payment options. The premium service adds an average of 2,500 hours of new programming per month, including films, television shows, and sporting events, Luo said, adding that for monthly subscribers, costs worked out to an average of RMB 0.2 per title.

At present, Gehua's HD set-top boxes (STBs) sell for RMB 1,580, or RMB 1,680 including a half year of broadband access. The operator will launch a new round of sales promotions for HD STBs at the start of December, through which it hopes to bring down STB prices.

Responding to reports that Gehua broadband speeds would drop in proportion to the number of users in a given residential compound, Luo said that slowdowns due to shared bandwidth would be limited. "Say every downstream port has a limit of 100 users. The 101st user will be switched to another port."

Keywords: VOD cable broadband convergence Luo Xiaobu television users Gehua HDTV 600037.SH pricing cable TV set-top box premium programming

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