With TVB’s strong monopoly hold on Hong Kong’s television industry in the last 20 years, there were high hopes for Ricky Wong’s (王維基) HKTV when it first launched its online services in November 2014. Although HKTV gained widespread support at its initial launch, the online broadcaster has been seeing a consistent drop in ratings.
When HKTV first opened in November 2014, it brought in a daily average of 385,000 live viewers and 205,000 unique viewers. There was also enthusiastic support and interest for HKTV’s opening drama The Election <選戰>, which stars Angelica Lee (李心潔) and Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智). However, on the second week of its service, HKTV lost over 175,000 live viewers, dropping to 183,000 viewers per day. By February 2015, live viewership averaged to 99,000 viewers per day, with only 60,000 unique visitors.
Due to poor promotion, hype for The Election also fell. A second season for the drama was planned to begin filming in February, but HKTV recently decided to indefinitely postpone the project, explaining that it wants to use it sources to make new programs.
Reportedly, HKTV will have no more new drama content after September 2015. In the past two years, HKTV has shot over 13 television dramas, totaling to over 163 hours of footage. As HKTV has decided to halt the production of more TV dramas, HKTV is also beginning to lose production staff.
Prospects do not look good for HKTV’s future, but Ricky Wong said he is not worried. He responded through a spokesperson, “After changing the image of HKTV, we used it as an entertainment platform and an e-shopping center. There are three major income sources, the first is income from overseas buyers, the second is from commercials, and the third is from HKTV Mall, which just launched on February 2. Our goal is to make [HKTV Mall] as an e-shopping supercenter.”
Ricky said HKTV is still waiting on the High Court’s judicial review on HKTV’s request for a free-to-air broadcasting license and a mobile license. HKTV is currently going through many changes, which is why HKTV has to temporarily halt the production of more TV dramas. “Because HKTV has stopped production, it is natural for artistes and production crew to leave after their contracts are up. If HKTV plans to make dramas again in the future, we will go under restructuring.”
In regards to HKTV’s low viewership ratings for its dramas, Ricky said, “The way we present our programs are different from other television stations. Therefore, our viewers are also different. Many people would usually turn on the TV and do other things, but HKTV’s broadcasting platform doesn’t allow you to do that. Most of our viewers are very active in watching our programs. The rise and drop in viewership ratings are normal. We will change things according to the audience’s tastes. That way, HKTV can understand what the viewers want.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.