Casbaa was established in Hong Kong on May 28, 1991. Founding companies included HBO Asia, ESPN, Star TV, CNN and Discovery Networks.
In April 1990, a Chinese Long March 3 rocket launched the Hughes HS376 refurbished Westar VI satellite as AsiaSat-1 from Xichang, Szechuan in China. China International Trust and Investment Corp, Cable & Wireless of Britain and Hong-Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, jointly owned Asia Satellite Telecommunications Ltd (AsiaSat), making it Asia’s first privately owned satellite company. By distributing signals via C-band TVRO dishes across 53 countries regional broadcasting in Asia became possible.
In December 1990, the Hong Kong government granted a license to HutchVision, Hutchison Whampoa’s satellite broadcasting arm, to uplink five channels to AsiaSat-1 from Hong Kong . In a reported US$300 million venture, Satellite Television Asia Region, (Star TV), began transmissions in August 1991. In July 1993, News Corp. bought a 63.6% stake in Star TV for a reported US$525 million, forming a partnership with business tycoon Li Ka-shing, whose family controlled the original company. In July 1995, News Corp. paid an additional US$346 million for the remaining 36.4% of Star TV.
At this time Star TV transmitted five 24-hour channels, including Viacom’s MTV Asia, the BBC World Service Television (WSTV), Prime Sports (a joint venture with the Denver-based Prime Network), entertainment programming via Star Plus, and a Mandarin-language channel.
Meanwhile, other multinational broadcasters were entering the Asia market including HBO Asia, Turner International’s CNN and ESPN. These companies, along with AsiaSat, were among the founders of the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa).
Casbaa is led by a Board of Directors. The Chairman is elected for a two-year term and the Board of Directors (responsible for the management of Casbaa). On the operational side Casbaa is managed by the Chief Executive (CEO) who is responsible for the Association’s membership and committee activities and for the organisation of industry events such as the annual Casbaa Convention.
The following Casbaa committees play a key role in establishing the priorities and initiatives of the Association:
Regulatory and Anti-Piracy Committee
Satellite Industry Committee
Technology Advisory Group
Wireless Action Group