Vietnam Television may sell stake in loss-making pay TV service

Thanh Nien News

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An office of pay TV provider K+ in Vietnam. Photo credit: K+ website An office of pay TV provider K+ in Vietnam. Photo credit: K+ website


National broadcaster Vietnam Television plans to sell part of its stake in a pay TV joint venture with France's Canal+ Group after the six-year-old business piled up nearly VND2 trillion (US$88.52 million) in losses, local media reported Wednesday.
Nguyen Thanh Luong, deputy general director of VTV, told Tien Phong newspaper that if the situation of Vietnam Satellite Digital Television does not improve, VTV will ask for the government's permission to reduce its stake to 25 percent from 51 percent at the moment.
VTV and its partner plan to reduce subscription fees and increase advertising revenues in an attempt to improve the situation of the joint-venture, better known as K+, news website VnExpress said, citing VTV's report to the government.
With a slate of sports channels as its main selling point, K+ had more than 800,000 subscribers at the end of last year, compared to 95,600 in 2009 when it was launched.
Its revenue soared up to nearly VND1.27 trillion ($56.21 million) from VND25 billion ($1.1 million).
However, it has never reported profits, and according to VTV, the venture depends heavily on loans from banks to keep running.
K+'s debt has been estimated at around VND1.8 trillion ($79.67 million) and its interest payment is more than VND100 billion ($4.42 million) a year, figures from VTV showed.
Under these financial circumstances, K+ will possibly continue to make losses for a few years coming, VTV said, adding that competitors such as FPT and Viettel can make the situation worse. 
VTV itself has a cable offshoot with around 2 million subscribers. Another major service provider, SCTV, has 2.3 million subscribers. 

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