Singapore -- Despite numerous reports that the Asia-Pacific
region is emerging from its recession, there are new indications that at least one cable
operator is experiencing difficulties.
HBO Asia stopped providing its service to Malaysian
operator Mega TV last month. "Despite numerous attempts by HBO Asia to work with Mega
TV, the parties failed to reach an agreement on the fees owed to HBO Asia," a network
Mega TV is thought to have about 25,000 subscribers. Its
executives couldn't be reached for comment about the problem with HBO Asia.
Most major cable and satellite networks in Southeast Asia
have distribution agreements with Mega TV's rival, direct-to-home platform Astro. Two
networks that are carried on Mega TV -- ESPN and Sony Corp.'s AXN -- declined to
discuss their current status with the operator, although it is believed that the latter
had experienced payment problems in the past.
Discovery Channel Asia, however, said it has had few
problems during its five-year relationship with Mega TV. "We might have had issues
about them paying on time, but we have always received payment," senior manager for
marketing and communications Anya MacDonald said.
She noted that because Discovery is a basic channel, its
cost to Mega is probably considerably less than that of HBO Asia.