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Galaxy CEO Resignation Fuels Concerns

By | August 16, 2004

      Jim Blomfield, CEO of Hong Kong-based Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, resigned last week, citing personal reasons. There now, apparently, are concerns about the future of Galaxy, a joint venture between Intelsat and Television Broadcasting Ltd. (TVB) that launched its exTV pay-TV service earlier this year in Hong Kong.

      Hong Kong is a small pay-TV market dominated by i-Cable Communications – the market leader in Hong Kong with more than 650,000 subscribers, and this means exTV could be struggling. When Satellite News spoke to Blomfield in March, he said the carrier was targeting between 70,000 and 80,000 subscribers in its first year of operations. According to local press reports, Galaxy now may have as few as 5,000 subscribers. This could mean Blomfield’s predictions could be at risk of falling far short. For exTV to be on track, it should have more than 30,000 subscribers at this stage. As such, the Intelsat/TVB joint venture could be in trouble, even though it is at an early stage, and how Intelsat is viewing this investment now is an open question.

      While exTV’s alliance with TVB should give the venture an edge local Cantonese content, its main pay-TV rival, i-Cable Communications, would appear to have an advantage in offering key international channels, particularly sports programming. For example, i-Cable has strong soccer coverage. Whether a new CEO can come in and turn Galaxy around is debatable. It appears whoever takes over from Blomfield will have a mighty big task ahead to turn the operator around.

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