Phoenix InfoNews Channel to Land in Guangdong

Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Limited (Phoenix TV) announced on January 1 that the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT) officially decided at the end of 2002 to permit the Phoenix InfoNews Channel to be received across China within limits according to overseas media administration. The SARFT decision marks that overseas Chinese news channel has, for the first time, been permitted to land on the mainland. And what's more, it means that, Phoenix Satellite Television's three major channels---the Chinese Channel, the Movies Channel and the InfoNews Channel have all been granted landing rights in China so far.

As leaned, Phoenix InfoNews will by attaining landing rights be received in hotels of three-star and above in Guangdong area.

The Phoenix InfoNews Channel has been operating formally since January 1, 2001. To date, it is the only twenty-four hour Chinese-language channel that carries a continuous format of current affairs and economic news, and is the sole Chinese-language news broadcaster serving the Greater China region. Phoenix InfoNews began to broadcast in Hong Kong via cable on February 1, 2002.

Phoenix Chairman Mr. Liu Changle noted that the advertising revenue would increase substantially once the InfoNews Channel gained landing rights in China, and then would be able to strike a balance between revenue and expenditure. Mr. Liang Nonggang, Phoenix standing vice administrative director, also hoped the InfoNews Channel would achieve the goal in a span of 3-4 years as the Chinese Channel did, which has now arrested approximately 40 million household users and would begin to reap meager profits after 3-4 years operation.

An analyst specialized in securities held that landing rights (aiming at high-consumption hotels, foreign apartment buildings and hotels of three-star and above), in a far-thinking perspective, will raise the group's revenue by increasing the advertising clients. In the near term, however, there remains uncertainty that Phoenix InfoNews will attract numbers of ad clients. Another analyst with HSBC Ltd. viewed that even though there is limit to landing rights, they will provide means necessary to intensify operating involvement of Phoenix InfoNews, thereby reducing its operating loss, which will ultimately raise Phoenix current stake-reducing rate.

The audience the channel attracts has been defined as "highly educated, highly-ranked professionals with high income" who have a strong appetite for economic news and information about current affairs. Media industry professionals have therefore predicted that Phoenix's advertising revenue will increase substantially once its InfoNews Channel has landing rights in China, and that the development will make a decisive contribution to correcting the operating loss that Phoenix experienced in the previous fiscal year. Statistics show that the Phoenix Chinese Channel's advertising revenue stood at HK$ 100 million in the first fiscal year, and then soared to HK$ 660 million five years later.

In the last five years the average annual increase in the Phoenix Chinese Channel's advertising revenue has been above 53 percent, and that it is received in approximately 40 million households across China. In terms of the character of landing, Phoenix InfoNews is similar to that of the Phoenix Chinese channel. However, due to the two-year operation, InfoNews will enjoy a higher starting point.

In regard to the landing rights of Phoenix InfoNews in Taiwan, Phoenix TV has submitted necessary supplementary files to "Government Information Office" Taiwan, which is in the final stage of examination and approval, as Mr. Liu Changle put it.

Phoenix InfoNews has successfully recruited over 100 seasoned news and television personages from around the world, forming a strong team. Besides, InfoNews has boldly placed a number of experts from international financial entities and research agencies, coupled with live broadcasting stations based in nine cities across three continents.

By PD Online Staff Zhu Lizhen

People's Daily Online ---