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New TechnoIogies, New Markets:
The Launch of Hongkong TeIecom's Video-on-Demand
'VOD is not a market led proposition . An education process, therefore, has to
be undergone in order to convince viewers that on-demand services are not only
desirable but also indispensable.¨
- Luisa Riddiford, New Media Development Manager, BBC Worldwide TV.
In February 1998, well over a year later than scheduled, Hongkong Telecom`s Interactive
Multimedia Services (IMS) unit launched the world`s first commercial Video-on-Demand (VOD)
system. This came after years of high-profile trials and failures all around the world, costing
billions of dollars and involving telecommunications carriers, cable television companies, media
conglomerates, information providers, computer hardware and software vendors, consultants and
systems integrators.
As a result, both Hong Kong and the Hongkong Telecom IMS venture were thrust into the
spotlight. Worldwide interest resulted not only from implementing the world`s first commercial
VOD system - an expensive high-technology service for which consumer demand had yet to be
proven - but for launching the first of the next generation of full-service interactive television
(iTV) systems. It was widely suggested that the success or failure of the IMS venture would say
a lot about the technology application`s prospects elsewhere around the world. For, as was often
argued by the former head of IMS, Dr. William Lo,
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Hong Kong`s environment appeared
particularly suitable for the adoption of VOD. If VOD were to be unsuccessful in Hong Kong, it
would not bode well for its application elsewhere - at least not without a suite of accompanying
interactive services.
IMS`s development, it was suggested, would tell the market much about: (i) VOD`s ability to
generate consumer demand and to work as a 'market leader` for further interactive television
services; (ii) the relation between customer demand and the new interactive technologies; and (iii)
whether telecommunications carriers (as opposed to cable TV networks or computer companies

1
Lo left KT IMS in September 1998.
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such as Microsoft) could employ a 'first mover` strategy to dominate the future provision of
broadband services. For these reasons, irrespective of whether or not VOD worked or failed in
Hong Kong, the IMS venture itself could potentially have a profound influence on the
development of future industry offerings - what is offered, who offers it and how.
However, as IMS took its new technology to market, none of this post-hoc rationalisation was of
much value. In marketing the new service, the company was faced with determining whether
market demand existed or whether it needed to be created. Or whether, in fact, market demand
should be a secondary concern to developing the infrastructure.
Interactive TeIevision and VOD
'A killer application . is a use of technology so attractive to consumers that it
fuels market forces and makes an invention all but indispensable, even if it
wasn`t anticipated by the inventor.¨
- Bill Gates, 1995.
Interactive television is TV that is controlled by the viewer, implying decision-making capacity.
2
The core of iTV is to allow the interactivity between a service provider and a user, and it is this
two-way communication with the subscriber that fundamentally changed the role of TV from a
passive medium. The new services enabled by the interactivity provided for a profound change in
our ability to proactively choose what we want to see and to personalise the information that we
want to receive. The degree of interactivity and the quality of presentation in turn defined the
technology required and the time frame in which a full-scale commercial launch would be
financially attractive. The dilemma for the service provider was to maximise the technologically
provided choice (issues of bandwidth, storage capacity, etc) so as to maximise consumer demand.
(In other words, the basket of services and the degree of interactivity defined the system`s
requirements and determined the choice of technical components.) But consumer patterns take
time to change and this change from the present broadcast mode to a future interactive mode
would not be an overnight transition. As demonstrated by the launch of the IMS VOD service,
the technology now existed for the rollout of iTV - albeit expensively - but the business model
for services demand and revenue streams did not. Among the many eventual iTV services to be
provided, VOD had been widely touted
3
and pushed as the first 'killer application` for the success
of the iTV business.
4
VOD allowed a subscriber to select a programme (such as a movie or documentary) using a
remote control by browsing through a menu of titles. Once chosen, the programme would be
played after a short elapsed time (typically from a few seconds to half a minute depending on the
network configuration and system load). A typical VOD system allowed a subscriber to exercise
VCR-like functions such as fast forward, backward, pause, stop and rewind [see Exhibit 1]. It
was this similarity to a VCR that had driven planning assumptions on the future acceptance of
VOD. In other words, if the price was right, people would prefer to watch a programme (any
time) using VOD instead of waiting for broadcast at a specific time or renting a movie. It was
this similarity with the VCR that had also suggested: (i) intense competition with video rental
stores and cable television networks; and (ii) strategic relationships between large telephone
companies and owners of film libraries.

2
Hodge, W. W., 'Interactive television: a comprehensive guide for multimedia technologists¨, p.3, McGraw-Hill. New York, 1995.
3
See, for example, Schwartz, Evan I., (1995), 'People are supposed to pay for this stuff?¨, In Wired Vol. 3, No. 7.
4
A more recent potential 'killer app` in the iTV suite of services has been identified as home banking.
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Two developments, however, clouded the prospects for employing VOD as the 'killer app`
business strategy in interactive television services. The first was the alarming lack of success of
VOD trials all over the world through the mid-1990s. Results from the various trials - all
remarkably similar [see Exhibit 2] - demonstrated that viewers did not appear to want what VOD
developers were offering them. At least not at the sort of premium prices that would be required
to sustain a viable business model. The second development to confuse VOD launch plans was
the explosive, unforeseen growth of the World Wide Web.
MuItimedia
'The Internet remains the great unknown. The one factor holding back the
delivery of video via the Internet is bandwidth. If this problem can be overcome
. VOD could arrive immediately. If it were to arrive in such a form, then a lot
of the money spent on trying to develop dedicated VOD services would appear to
have been wasted . it would also suggest that telephone companies should stick
to their role of developing broader bandwidth delivery mechanisms, network
companies should stick to their role of working on how to send stuff along this
bandwidth, and content companies should work out what consumers want
delivered to their homes.¨
- Simon Cartledge, Telecom InfoTechnology Forum,
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1997.
A simple value chain for interactive television would include the content provider, service
provider, network provider and subscriber [see Exhibit 3]. The convergence of computers,
telecommunications and electronic media ('multimedia`), and the concomitant deregulation of
markets had, however, blurred industrial boundaries, confusing concepts of who sits where within
this iTV value chain.
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Thus, while the technical issues of iTV have largely been solved - the
trials around the world have demonstrated technical feasibility - the real problem came from the
high initial investment required to construct a workable network infrastructure and service
platform [see Exhibit 4]. Indeed, the major barrier holding back development of VOD had been
the cost of rolling out the infrastructure - in particular, the 'last mile` to the subscriber - and the
cost of the set-top box. By 1997, it was estimated that the equipment needed for a VOD system
was still somewhere in the US$1,000-2,000 per subscriber range - significantly more than the
US$200-300 required for a video cassette recorder (used on average to play two or three videos
per week).
The situation was further complicated by a lack of standards in the emerging multimedia markets.
Put another way, without an agreed-upon set of standards, there would be a range of competing
standards each seeking market dominance. This resulted in a lack of interoperability between
networks and components (remember the problems with VHS and Beta video standards?) and
high component prices, as manufacturers were unable to benefit from the economies of scale
required to engage in mass production, thereby reducing costs.
7
There were a number of
strategies that could be employed to minimise these problems. The service provider could create
an alliance, or a consortium of vendors, so as to share the risks and returns with technology

5
The Telecommunications Information Technology Forum is part of the University of Hong Kong`s Telecommunications Research
Project (http://www.trp.hku.hk), September 1998.
6
'The net effect of all the alliances that have been written up in The Wall Street Journal for the past three years is this: everyone is in
cahoots with everyone else. Bell Atlantic is collaborating with Microsoft. Microsoft is in bed with TCI. TCI works with US West.
US West has an investment in Time Warner. Time Warner is aligned with AT&T. AT&T has done deals with GTE. And so on.
They visit each other`s trial zones, attend the same conferences, buy the same market research.¨ Schwartz, Evan I, 1995, 'People are
supposed to pay for this stuff?` In Wired Vol. 3, No. 7, p. 191.
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One of the business justifications in being first to market is to turn just this sort of vicious circle into a virtuous cost structure by
effectively setting the market standards.
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suppliers and at the same time influence the design of technical components to allow greater
standardisation. Or, the service provider could pursue a non-proprietary ('open`) platform, thus
minimising the potential problems of early component 'lock-in` by suppliers.
However, the main issue remained on the demand side, with the unknown market response.
Studies and experience both showed that subscribers were willing to pay for services or products
that they valued. The questions were: at what price were they willing to buy, and could this price
generate sufficient revenues to justify investment?
Admittedly, VOD was promoted as merely the first application of iTV, eventually to be only one
of many such services provided via the iTV infrastructure. However, in the iTV initial phase,
VOD was to be used as the key application, and much was staked on its ability to attract viewers
and consumer revenue. If it failed to do so, and if consumers only came to the service slowly
over an extended period of time, the iTV company faced the prospect of long-term losses before
the potential of seeing decent returns. Even more threateningly, given rapid technological
change, alternative methods of providing more accessible interactive services may well have been
developed in the interim, or basic infrastructural costs may have plummetted making it easy for
late entrants to contest the lead position of the VOD provider. For Hongkong Telecom then, by
the mid-1990s, the questions regarding VOD, although complex, had come down to a simple
business proposition: if they were to compete in the VOD market, could they afford not to try and
gain dominance of the new market?
Interactive MuItimedia Services Ltd. (IMS)
Hongkong Telecom Interactive Multimedia Services Ltd. (HKT IMS) was an independent,
wholly-owned subsidiary of Hongkong Telecom, itself a member of the Cable & Wireless
Federation [see Exhibit 5]. HKT IMS was established to take responsibility for the creation and
delivery of a wide range of interactive services to the Hong Kong marketplace - primarily the
residential marketplace.
IMS was established as a working unit in late-1994 under the leadership of Dr. William Lo, a
former McKinsey & Co. consultant. In late-1993 Dr. Lo returned to Hong Kong from a 12-
month secondment to London, working as the Executive Assistant to the Chairman and the Chief
Executive of Cable & Wireless PLC. Upon his return he took up the new position as Director of
Strategic Planning, focusing principally on the formulation of a corporate and regional strategy
for HKT, as well as being responsible for developing HKT`s broadband initiative. At this stage,
VOD was already seen as pivotal to the future of HKT in the new era of interactive multimedia.
In November 1995, IMS was formalised as a subsidiary business, making it the fourth major
subsidiary of Hongkong Telecom.
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(The others were Hong Kong Telephone Company (HKTC),
Hongkong Telecom International (HKTI), and Hongkong Telecom CSL, known simply as CSL.)
At this point in time separation of operating business units was required by the industry regulator,
OFTA (the Office of the Telecommunications Authority). This was to ensure that other
companies that wished to provide broadband services would be able to enter the market on a fair
and equal basis, renting facilities from the incumbent, HKT, in a competitive manner. To help
formalise the operational separation, IMS relocated premises from Hongkong Telecom Tower in
Quarry Bay to cheaper office space in Sha Tin. This, however, did not satisfy a number of

8
In 'Waiting for VOD` (The Dataphile, 3(3): 16) Lai comments that HKT IMS is a 'non-franchised subsidiary of Hongkong
Telecom,¨ rather than a separate company, in the context of discussing PNETS (public, non-exclusive telecommunications services)
charges - the fee that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were required to pay to Hongkong Telecom for the right to serve the customer
market.
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industry critics, who saw the potential for continued cross-subsidisation and the pursuit of market
dominance. Mueller, for example, called for the divestiture of IMS from the HKT parent body:
'The creation of a free-standing, divested IMS would create a market structure more in line with
the global trend toward vertical disintegration and horizontal specialisation in digital media, and
thus accelerate Hong Kong`s progress into the age of digital convergence. IMS would be free to
buy network services from any wireless or FTNS operators, and IMS`s relationship with content
providers would not be affected by its market power over access.¨
9
Naturally, this line of attack
was resisted by the company. More widely, it was pointed out that given the issues raised above,
if HKT was not encouraged to introduce VOD, Hong Kong was unlikely to see such development
for many years. (The issue for industry regulators, therefore, was whether they should trade off
industry competition for new high-technology service provision.)
In 1995, HKT began running a commercial VOD trial involving 400 households scattered across
different geographical regions of Hong Kong and different socio-economic groups. Prior to this
commercial trial, the service had been tested with HKT employees to assess whether the system
itself was technically feasible and, perhaps more importantly, could be implemented using HKT`s
existing infrastructure. (The initial trials made use of ADSL and fibre to the building (FTTB)
technologies, before eventually migrating to xDSL - see Glossary.) By the time of the
commercial launch in late-1997, IMS had grown to more than 400 employees working across five
different divisions.
Video-on-Demand in Hong Kong - A Business SoIution or a
TechnoIogicaI Breakthrough?
'We are about two years ahead of the market. The question is: do we move in
now to stay ahead of the market or do we wait for costs to come down?¨
- Kelvin Lai, HKT IMS, September 4, 1997.
How were market competitors or the industry regulator to understand HKT`s diversification
strategy into multimedia services? For a telephone company the core competence would be its
telecommunications skills in telephony, data communications and related value-added services.
A new infrastructure could certainly improve operational efficiency and add cost advantages in
going about the old business, but at the same time the firm must branch out into new fields - in
this case these new fields included entertainment, education and interactive transactional services.
Not only were there costs involved in building a new network and providing new services, there
was also a steep learning curve to be traversed in the provision of new non-core services.
Phase 1: The Original Broadband Vision
The original IMS plan was to offer broadband services to the entertainment market, with the
planned applications including VOD, home shopping, cross-merchandising, home banking and
payment services, educational offerings, and infomercial/infotainment products of various types
[see Exhibit 6]. Revenue for the IMS service would come from subscription fees, sales
commissions and fees from business traders. By its original schedule, IMS was to provide its
broadband VOD service to the residential market by July 1996.
10
In undertaking this aggressive

9
Milton Mueller 1997. 'Why Hong Kong Telecom Should Not Get a VOD Licence,¨ paper presented to the Hong Kong
Telecommunications Review 1997 (http://www.IIAC/papers), September 1998.
10
Wharf Cable`s exclusive cable TV licence in Hong Kong was originally supposed to expire by end of June 1996. It was later
extended to 1998, thereby allowing Wharf to enjoy a monopoly in narrowcast TV but competing with broadcast TV.
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schedule, HKT issued a Request for Proposal for a broadband network solution in March 1995.
The winners - or 'technology partners` - were announced in November 1995:
Iwatani and Fujitsu for the broadband switches and transmission technology
Hewlett Packard for media servers and gateways
Sybase for database software
NEC for set-top boxes
BroadVision for the support systems and
Andersen Consulting for programme management and systems integration
Phase 2: The Interim Narrowband Business
However, in 1996 the entire scenario changed drastically. In March 1996, HKT announced that
the digital VOD project would be delayed by at least one year until mid-1997, and the focus was
shifted away from VOD to the new Internet business ('Netvigator`) and interactive online
services [see Exhibit 7]. Netvigator, an enhanced suite of Internet offerings, was launched in
early 1996, employing what was in effect existing narrowband technology. (Within six months
Netvigator became the dominant Internet Service Provider in Hong Kong with almost 40,000
subscribers, and by mid-1997 had passed 100,000 dial-up account subscribers.
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)
Then, in March 1997, HKT announced that Sybase would not be used in the future IMS platform.
In June 1996, HKT dropped Hewlett Packard as the VOD server supplier. There were several
reasons for these developments. The first was a simple issue of business 'incompatibility` and
disagreements over which technological solution to adopt. (As indicated by some involved in the
project, this was to be expected given the ambitious launch programme and the fluid nature of the
network design programme.) Somewhat more fundamentally, though, was a shift away from the
earlier proprietary network design to a more open, interoperable platform. This accompanied the
meteoric growth of the World Wide Web [see Exhibit 8] and HKT`s move into the Internet
service provision market. It also saw a re-focus by the group towards the adoption of Java, the
object-oriented networking language being permeated through its use on the Web.
Thus, whereas the first phase of development was focused upon a proprietary network design
(originally the IMS platform was to be set up as an IBM proprietary network), changes in the
second phase (i.e., adoption of an open operating system) mirrored developments in the
networking community worldwide, as the impact of the Internet and the Web were
accommodated. The original business requirements had led to the selection of a specific set of
technologies and products. The subsequent change in business requirements demanded a change
in components (and in some cases, vendors) which on the one hand met future needs (being more
'flexible` to support more services) but on the other hand delayed the project schedule and
created new technological uncertainties.
12
Cumulatively these changes were seen to cater for a
more flexible adoption of services in the future, rather than just to support or to optimise, the
VOD application. Implicit in this watershed was an acknowledgement by the company that
VOD, by itself, would not sustain an economically viable business case.

11
In 1996, HKT IMS established the largest 'cybermall` in Asia and in March 1997 it launched the first service of real time Asia
Pacific stock quotations, company information and economic news in Hong Kong. The services were Hong Kong Stock Express and
Asia Financial Express (AFXpress).
12
For example, the set-top box became a simple Unix box.
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Phase 3: The Launch of the Broadband Network
By 1997, the broadband venture had become a HK$10 billion
13
project, and the new consortium
comprised:
Fujitsu, providing ATM switching and local access
NEC, supplying the main server and set-top boxes (or 'Smart Box` hardware)
BroadVision, supplying the electronic commerce engine
Iona Technologies, providing the CORBA middleware and
Andersen Consulting, providing programme management and systems integration
Meanwhile, the infrastructure that the iTV services were finally built upon consisted of:
Business and Operation Support Systems (B/OSS)
Hardware
Physical Broadband ATM Network
Smart Box
Servers (MPEG video, Application data, and Commerce fulfilment)
Client Software
Microwave OS-9 real-time operating system
Java Virtual Machine
OrbixWeb (Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) client)
Java Open Set-Top Environment (JOSE)
IMS Application Framework
Server Software
Orbix 2.2 (CORBA server)
Broadvision 1:1 Commerce Software
ObjectStore Object-Oriented Database (OODB)
Tools and Utilities
Service Builder (SB authoring tool)
Service Activation Manager (SAM) operations utility
By the launch, therefore, the IMS architecture was based upon a distributed object oriented
design. The real-time environment consisted primarily of 'Smart Box` clients running Java
applications, application servers and MPEG servers
14
all tied together by an ATM fibre optic
network. The centrepiece of the iTV service and the main focus of the launch phase remained
VOD. However, in addition to VOD, IMS`s suite of other iTV services included Music-on-
Demand (MOD), Karaoke-on-Demand (KOD), Home Shopping and Home Banking - although
these were all to be launched after the VOD service.
The Hong Kong Advantage: A WeaIthy, 'VerticaI' City
'If [VOD] doesn`t work in Hong Kong, it won`t work anywhere.¨
- Dr. William Lo, 1995.
Given advantageous geography and an existing, advanced infrastructure, HKT had been hoping to
hold the cost of linking homes to its iTV network to an average of US$1,200 (HK$9,360). Initial

13
US $1 = HK $7.78
14
MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) is a motion picture or video standard. The acronym is derived from the US body that set the
standard.
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plans had customers being charged at HK$200 a month for a set-top box to decode the incoming
telephone signal, and another HK$20-30 for each film they viewed.
15
Over the course of their
commercial trial IMS found that each household spent an average HK$30-50 per week on
programmes and films (billed at between HK$2 and HK$28 an item).
16
This suggested that IMS
would (optimistically) generate only HK$4480 per year for each subscriber.
17
These figures help
to put the 'killer application` approach in some perspective. Even without any 'churn` - the
number of people who initially subscribe to a service only to then relinquish their subscription - it
would take more than two years for HKT to begin to see any money from each user.
IMS was expecting to break even by its fourth year of operation, based on achieving 88,000
customers by the end of the first year and 240,000 customers (around five per cent of the
population) by the end of the second [see Exhibit 9]. (All of the middle-class estates were to be
connected with fibre by the end of the first year and 80 per cent of Hong Kong would be covered
within three years.) But meeting this target would mean Hongkong Telecom, through HKTC,
spending an estimated HK$2.8 billion upon the basic infrastructure. In addition, IMS foresaw
themselves needing to spend in excess of HK$300 million purchasing films for its new VOD
service over the first three years. The VOD service would show films sourced predominantly
from a joint venture between film producers, Golden Harvest Entertainment and China Star
Entertainment, as Hong Kong films have been shown to be the most popular fare. The service
would provide customers with a choice of between 60-80 film titles, which could be viewed at
any time. Each film would have an average 'shelf life` of about two weeks, with very popular
titles staying available for up to a month. Thus, turnover would be high.
However, a number of factors supported Dr. Lo`s claims that Hong Kong was uniquely placed to
attempt this experiment. Firstly, about 90 per cent of residents lived in high-rise flats, which
made the city comparatively easier and cheaper to connect than just about any other major
metropolitan area. Even in Singapore, the average height of the high-rise residential blocks was
only 20 storeys, compared to 32 for Hong Kong, making the incremental costs for HKT
comparatively smaller. In addition, Hong Kong`s population was broadly affluent and
sophisticated: an ideal target for such entertainment services. Spending on recreation,
information and entertainment in Hong Kong was more than three times that of the US on a per
capita basis. (Expenditure as a percentage of GDP is 7.5 per cent in Hong Kong, compared with
approximately 2 per cent in the US.) Hong Kong also has a remarkably high take up of new
technology services: the penetration of VCRs, mobile phones, pagers and Internet subscription,
for example, were higher than most other regions [see Exhibit 10].
All of this meant that, for IMS`s VOD service to make money for HKT, a number of factors had
to come into play. Firstly, the market had to exist - something that had yet to be proven, as the
trials around the world had demonstrated. Secondly, network costs had to continue to fall or else
the amount by which IMS was subsidising each subscriber would become too expensive. Finally,
with two licences awarded initially, and potentially more to follow, IMS needed to secure a
dominant position in the market.

15
The initial monthly fee upon launch was in fact only HK$100, to attract subscribers.
16
This was compared to the HK$20-30 weekly they said they would have otherwise spent on video rentals. It costs around HK$10-25
to rent a film from one of the SAR`s video rental outlets.
17
One estimate suggests that the company would need to generate revenues of more than US$40 per household per month to make an
appropriate return. See Lucas, Louis 1995. 'William Lo and his race to be first¨, Financial Times, 2 May.
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GLOSSARY
Terms Definition
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A form of Digital Subscriber Line in which the
bandwidth available for downstream connection is significantly larger than for
upstream. Although designed to minimise the effect of crosstalk between the
upstream and downstream channels, this setup is well suited for web browsing and
client-server applications as well as for some emerging applications such as Video-
on-Demand. (See also xDSL.)
Broadband A transmission medium capable of supporting a wide range of frequencies, typically
from audio up to video frequencies. It can carry multiple signals by dividing the total
capacity of the medium into multiple, independent bandwidth channels, where each
channel operates only on a specific range of frequencies.
Broadcast Point-to multipoint transmission.
CORBA Common Request Broker Architecture
Digital
Compression
A technique for conserving bandwidth by reducing the bits required to represent,
store or transmit data.
FTTB Fibre to the building
FTTH Fibre to the home
Hertz (Hz) Unit of electromagnetic frequency equal to one cycle second
HFC Hybrid Fibre/Coaxial. Optical fibre cable in the local loop, and co-axial cable to the
home. A higher capapcity alternative to ADSL, and a cost-effective alternative to
FTTH.
iTV Inter-active television. A broadband (high-capacity) point-to-point transmission
system that provides a subscriber with an upstream link to request a service, such as
VOD, and a downstream link to transmit the service.
Java (After the Indonesian island, a source of programming fluid.) A simple, object-
oriented, distributed, architecture-neutral, general-purpose programming language
developed by Sun Microsystems in 1995. Java supports programming for the Internet
in the form of platform-independent Java 'applets`. Java is similar to the computing
language C++, but extends C++`s object-oriented facilities with those of Objective C
for dynamic method resolution.
Narrowband A channel of radio frequencies below the level of a voice circuit 300Hz to 3,000Hz,
typically using transmission speeds up to 100-200 Kbps.
NVOD Near Video-on-Demand. A narrowcast service that enables a subscriber to call-up a
video for downloading at times set by the service provider (typically every 15
minutes, so a video lasting three hours will require 12 channels).
Server A computer that provides some service for other computers connected to it via a
network. The most common example is a file server, which has a local disk and
services requests from remote clients to read and write files on that disk.
VOD Video-on-Demand. An interactive service that enables a subscriber to call-up a video
of choice from a menu to be downloaded at any time.
xDSL DSL - or Digital Subscriber Line - technologies encompass technologies for the
transmission of compressed digital signals along a twisted-wire pair telephone line,
such as ADSL, HDSL (High bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) or VHDSL (Very High
bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line).
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EXHIBIT 1
IMS iTV NETWORK ARCHITECTURE
Optical Fibre
Network
ÌMS Provider Set-top box
Set-top box
User input remote
control
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EXHIBIT 2
SELECTED iTV TRIALS WORLDWIDE
Region Company Location Launch Users Services Network
United States Bell Atlantic New Jersey 5/1995 7,000 VOD ADSL
US West Omaha 8/1995 4,000 VOD; TV listings HFC
Nynex New York 1994 800
Time Warner Florida 12/1994 4,000 VOD; Games;
Home shopping
HFC
TCI (+ Microsoft) Washington 3/1995 2,000 VOD HFC
Viacom California 1995 N/A
Britain BT Colchester/
Ipswich
6/1995 2,500 VOD; music; games;
Home shopping &
banking; information
FTTH or
FTTC+ADSL
On Line Media Cambridge 3/1995 250 VOD; Home
banking; Music;
News
FTTC + coax
Germany Deutsche Telekom Six cities 1/1995 6,000 VOD; Home
shopping News on
Demand;
FTTH;
FTTC+coax
Japan Japanese
government
Kyoto 7/1994 300
Tokyo Cable Net.
(NTT & Microsoft)
Tokyo 3/1996 400 VOD; News; KOD;
Home shopping
FTTC
Hong Kong Hongkong
Telecom
Hong Kong 1995 4,000 VOD; Home
shopping
FTTB/ADSL
Australia Interactive TV
Australia
Adelaide 11/1994 1,500 Printed info; Play-
along game shows
Signals in TV
programme +
phone return
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EXHIBIT 3
iTV VALUE CHAIN
Content
Provider
Service
Provider
Network
Carrier
Access
Network
Core Network
Subscriber
ADSL
FTTB
HFC
ATM
STB & TV
Creation/ Production
Post-production
Compression
Gateway server
Video server
Support system
Gateway server
support system
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EXHIBIT 4
CRITICAL TECHNICAL AND COST ISSUES
In order to make the iTV business viable, management should address the following
critical technical and cost issues from a commercial point of view.
Technical Issues Cost Issues
Content provider Change to digital production environment Acquisition of equipment
Exploitation of interactivity Compression of content
Advertising and promotion
Training and personnel
Service provider Support of multiple asynchronous video
streams
Professional fees for
consulting/integration services
Desired video quality of programmes Acquisition of content (royalty)
Support secure transactional service Compression of content
Overall integration of network, servers,
content providers and tertiary service
providers
Cost of servers to support large
number of streams, programmes
and high volume of transactions
Protection of privacy Advertising and promotion
Training of personnel
Facility, operation, maintenance,
etc
Network carrier Leverage off new infrastructure to support
other services
Cost of core network to support
high bandwidth
Minimal visits to and wiring in homes Cost of local access network to
reach every subscriber
Re-use of current infrastructure Acquisition of servers to provide
gateway and support functions
Support of back channel Training of personnel
Facility, operation, maintenance,
etc
Subscriber Desired degree of interactivity Acquisition of set-top boxes
Desired quality of programmes Volume of subscribers
Early lock-in to set-top box vendor
Lack of standards
Potential early obsolescence of technology
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EXHIBIT 5
HONGKONG TELECOM CORPORATE STRUCTURE
Hong Kong
Telecommunications Ltd
(Corporate Holding Co.)
HKT CSL
(Mobile,
equipment)
HKTÌ
(Ìnternational
services)
HKT-ÌMS
(Multimedia,
Ìnternet)
HKTC
(Regulated
local services)
China
Telecom
(HK)
Cable &
Wireless
China
Everbright
Public
5.5%
53.7%
7.7%
33.1%
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EXHIBIT 6
IMS BROADBAND SERVICES SCHEDULES (ORIGINAL)
1996
Video-on-Demand
Payment Services
Cross-merchandising
Infomercial
1997
Home shopping
Home banking
Electronic Yellow Pages
TV-on-Demand
1998
Network games
Educational services
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EXHIBIT 7
NETVIGATOR HOMEPAGE
(http://www.netvigator.com/)
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EXHIBIT 8
WORLD WIDE WEB GROWTH MATRIX
(http://www.mids.org/market/1/htmIdir/web.htmI)
Internet Hosts and Web Servers, 1981-1997
100
1,000
10,000
100,000
1,000,000
10,000,000
100,000,000
Ìnternet hosts
Web servers
Source: Netwark W/zards, Inc.
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98/08C Hongkong Telecoms Video-on-Demand
18
EXHIBIT 9
IMS'S PROJECTED VOD FINANCIALS
HK Dollars (in mn) FY98JF FY99JF FY00JF FY01JF FY02JF
Subscribers, year-end
(thousands)
20 160 320 440 528
Subscribers, year-average
(thousands)
3 90 240 380 484
Churn rate (%) 10 10 15 15 15
Total sign-up revenue 9 67 78 71 64
Total monthly revenue 5 162 432 684 871
Total movie revenue 7 270 720 912 1,162
Other revenue 1 54 144 182 232
Total revenue 23 553 1,374 1,849 2,329
Films offered per year (number) 360 360 360 360 360
Total minimum guarantee costs (13) (50) (52) (53) (54)
Studio royalty costs (©20% of
movie revenue)
(1) (27) (72) (91) (116)
Post-production costs (0) (15) (25) (29) (34)
Total content costs (14) (93) (149) (173) (204)
Total interconnect costs (19) (347) (555) (527) (403)
Marketing and other costs (50) (150) (175) (250) (250)
Employees (number) 400 800 1,200 1,500 1,600
Salary expenses (29) (288) (432) (540) (576)
Total costs (92) (531) (756) (963) (1,030)
EBITDA (69) 22 619 886 1,299
Depreciation (58) (513) (754) (948) (1,104)
Operating profit (127) (491) (135) (62) 196
Total capex per subscriber
(HK$)
12,188 10,940 11,523 12,074 12,830
Revenue per subscriber (HK$) N/A 3,457 4,295 4,203 4,412
Payment to Hongkong Telephone shown here for illustrative purposes only and not included in operating
costs.
Source: Hongkong Telecom, 1 December, 1997, Jard/ne F/em/ng Research
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98/08C Hongkong Telecoms Video-on-Demand
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EXHIBIT 10
HONG KONG MEDIA DEVELOPMENT STATISTICS
Over 3.6 million fixed exchange lines at a penetration rate of 55 lines per 100 people
108 fixed domestic lines per 100 households
Over 4.6 million telephone sets
Over 300,000 kilometres optical fibre laid
Over 2.1 million mobile telephone subscribers at a penetration rate of 32 per cent
Over 870,000 radio paging subscribers
According to the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, the number of ISP in Hong Kong at the
end of July 1998 was 130.
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18
Office of the Telecommunications Authority, http://www.ofta.gov.hk/index_eng1.html

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