ATV Fails to Renew Broadcasting License

Hong Kong broadcasting station, ATV, has been struggling financially for years. ATV’s final days are numbered, as commerce minister Gregory So (蘇錦樑) announced that the station’s broadcasting license will not be renewed next year. So stated that the decision is final and ATV has no right to appeal, as the broadcaster was previously given adequate time to provide a restructuring plan.

At the same time, the government has granted a 12-year license to Richard Li‘s (李澤楷) PCWW’s HK Television Entertainment Company Limited (HKTVE). As HKTVE’s Now TV is a subscription-based service, it remains unlikely that it will directly challenge TVB, who currently monopolizes the free-to-air television market in Hong Kong.

ATV’s Demise

In recent months, ATV struggled to pay employee wages due to its troubled cash flow. The station desperately offered discount advertising costs, hoping to raise enough revenue to stay afloat while it looked for potential buyers. However, majority shareholder Wong Ching (王征) allegedly asked for $2 billion HKD, an astronomical price which scared away buyers.

Earlier this week, ATV reported in its evening news HKTV Chairman Ricky Wong (王维基) would be acquiring the floundering station. Hours later, ATV released a second statement saying that it would be acquired by one of Wong’s companies, rather than HKTV itself.

Wong had previously emphasized repeatedly that he had no interest in acquiring ATV. Yesterday, Wong released a statement that he had met with ATV once to advise them on their operations and how to maintain a free-to-air television channel in Hong Kong. He had never attempted to negotiate an acquisition of ATV, whether on behalf of himself or any of his companies.

Allegedly, ATV deliberately engineered the news of its acquisition, hoping this would help them in receiving their broadcasting license renewal. The former Head of the Financial Services and Treasury Burea of Hong Kong, Frederick Ma (马时亨) opined that ATV’s release of false news of it being acquired could be regarded as an attempt at manipulation of the Hong Kong stock market. ATV could thus have committed a serious regulatory offense.


This article is written by Jingles for

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  1. FINALLY! but don’t understand why the deal between HKTV and ATV didn’t work out

  2. After ATV is gone, the broadcasting airwaves are going to RTHK (more known as a radio station, of course they also make some TV programs). Basically, TVB is the only real TV station left for 1 year of more. RTHK does not have that many TV programs and they are not going to make TV series.

    PCCW and Cable are hoping the broadcasting airwaves (analogue) are given to them, so people can watch these TV stations much easier. In the current situation, I believe people in HK need a box or a TV that supports DVB in able to watch PCCW or Cable TV channels.

    Also, HKTV has applied for a new TV license again. Previously, I believe a report has said HK can’t have 5 TV stations, because the market in HK is too small for 5 TV stations. Therefore, HKTV did not get a TV license back then (there were also other criteria). Instead, PCCW and Cable have been granted a TV license.

    Since ATV is now gone, I wonder if HKTV will now get a TV license. It could most likely take at least a year before a new decision is made. Also, HKTV still have a appeal ongoing against the goverment to not grant a TV license to them.

    Can the new TV stations start broadcasting even if the appeal is still ongoing?

    1. @tess TVB has always monopolized the HK television industry, it was just never “official”….but with ATV gone and new player (to the free TV market) Now TV only able to broadcast using digital spectrum, TVB’s monopoly is basically “legalized” now.

      The next few years should be very interesting in terms of seeing how things develop in the HK television industry…

  3. They need to let HKTV into the television system! Most of the good modern dramas are produced by them only. NowTV is focused on mixing Mainland & HK market, but they are selling it to Mainlanders. HKTV & TVB are the only ones to create a market for HK people to HK people, but TVB has dwindled in quality over the years. Let the n00bs have a chance!

  4. I am sorry to say this, but I glad that the final nail has been put in the coffin. Because I once loved ATV so much, I feel so sad that it has degraded to such a state due to bad management. To see it deteriorate even more is too painful, I would rather see ATV end once and for all and let another company take its place at the start of a new TV era. But the memories of ATV’s glorious past will always be with us.

    Thanks for all the great classics you have given me, ATV. Thanks for “The Secret Battle of the Majesties”, “The Fatherlands I, II & III”, “Tie Rise and Fall of the Great Wall”, “Empress Wu”, “Reincarnated (the original one)”, “The Good Old Days”, “The Snow is Red”, “The Cruel Lover” and thanks for creating Ye Lut Ho Nam!

    May you rest in peace, ATV! RIP!!!

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