Beleaguered television network i-Cable has taken a “small but important step” towards continuing to broadcast, chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi said on Tuesday.
i-Cable’s future was plunged into uncertainty last month after parent company Wharf Holdings announced it would cease funding the pay-television network upon the expiry of its commitments.
Trading in i-Cable’s shares was halted on Tuesday morning as Ng circulated an internal memo among staff.
“I am pleased to advise that a small but important step has been taken towards enabling the company to accept a new Pay TV licence and to carry on with its Pay TV, Free TV and Broadband businesses,” read the memo published on HK01.
“Fuller information is expected to be disclosed later this week after an announcement has been cleared with SFC/SEHK [the Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange].”
“In the meantime, it is business as usual.”
In an interview with former legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing last week, i-Cable executive director Ronald Chiu Ying-chun said that the network was in talks with a potential investor. He said he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but added that an agreement was not imminent.
Pulling the plug
Founded in 1993, i-Cable operates a 24-hour Cantonese-language news network in Hong Kong, with an investigative news team in mainland China.
The network’s current pay-television licence expires on May 31. It has until April 26 to inform the Communications Authority whether it will accept an extension of the licence.
Despite the uncertainty, i-Cable announced last month that it will press on with the launch of free-to-air entertainment channel Fantastic Television on May 14.