On September 10, ATV executives held a press conference to announce the station’s future plans. Executive director Ip Ka Po (葉家寶) revealed that a Mainland Chinese consortium had purchased nearly half of ATV’s shares earlier this summer, and that these new investors are planning to put in a total of $10 billion HKD to develop ATV into a major media business.
ATV announced earlier in June that it had found new investors, but the Hong Kong station declined to disclose the name of the buyers. Ip Ka Po finally confirmed on Thursday that China Culture Media International bought 41.66 percent of shares in ATV from major shareholder David Wong (黃炳均) on June 11. ATV is currently waiting for the government’s approval of the transfer of ownership.
The Hong Kong government declined ATV’s request to renew its free-to-air license in April due to the station’s dwindling ratings. ATV will operate until April of next year, but with the support of the new buyers, ATV has plans to reapply for a new license.
Ip Ka Po announced that China Culture Media International will be investing $10 billion HKD to support ATV’s future endeavors in the television market, including an additional $5.1 billion HKD for ATV over the next six years. ATV will also develop an online channel and a satellite channel.
However, the Office of Communications Authority are concerned about the new buyers’ credentials, as it is an unfamiliar business in Hong Kong. There are also growing concerns that ATV’s editorial freedom would be compromised due to the buyer’s Mainland background, but Ip Ka Po assured that the the funding is “definitely not red capital.”
In regards to the delayed August payments for its employees, Ip Ka Po stressed that at least 80 percent of its workers have received their wages. Nonetheless, Hong Kong’s Labour Department expressed that it has received a case and is currently investigating ATV.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.