TV allies plan Chinese channel: Wilton Group and Shaw Media link for European satellite service

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The Independent Online
CHINESE-speaking Europeans will get their own language satellite channel under plans disclosed yesterday by the USM-quoted Wilton Group and Shaw Media, based in Hong Kong.

The bulk of the programming for the 'Chinese Channel' will be supplied on a territorially exclusive basis by Hong Kong's Television Broadcasts, the world's leading producer of Chinese language programming. The two Hong Kong companies are already connected - Shaw is owned by Darren and Markus Shaw, two brothers who are grand-nephews of the TVB chairman Sir Run Run Shaw.

Wilton, a loss-making holding company, said last year that it intended to concentrate in future on media activities. The switch followed substantial investment in the group by the Malaysian businessman Clive Ng.

It has already made two other Asian investments: a joint venture with United Artists Theatre Circuit to set up multiplex cinemas in South-east Asia; and the purchase of Noble Investment, a Hong Kong company that holds the Ng family interests in cable and satellite in South-east Asia.

Under the latest deal, Wilton - which intends to change its name to Cinecom - will initially contribute pounds 300,000 for an 80 per cent stake in the project, with Shaw putting in pounds 75,000 for the rest of the equity. However, the deal envisages shareholders contributing up to pounds 3m in total. Additional funding will come from loans provided by Wilton and Shaw.

The aim is for the subscription- based channel to start broadcasting on the Astra satellite at the start of March, providing 12 hours' programming a day by the autumn.