HKTV Lost $1 Billion HKD in Three Years

The financial reports for Ricky Wong’s (王維基) HKTV was released last week, reporting a $237 million HKD loss in the 16 months ending on December 2014. Reports say that HKTV accrued losses amounting to $1 billion HKD in the past three years.

In 2013, HKTV applied for a free-to-air service license in Hong Kong, but the license was rejected by the Hong Kong government in October 2013. Despite the rejection, HKTV decided to continue with its program broadcasting and utilizes an over-the-top internet platform to air its programs. HKTV was officially launched in November 2014.

Upon the establishment of HKTV, Ricky Wong said he hoped HKTV would be able to challenge TVB’s monopoly in the Hong Kong television market, but it was easier said than done.  Though HKTV received wide support from netizens initially, viewership ratings fell dramatically over the last few months, forcing HKTV to put a temporary halt in drama production.

Currently, the broadcaster’s income relies on commercials, its online shopping mall, and the fees generated from licensing its programs overseas.

In 2011, HKTV acquired a plot of land in Tseung Kwan O — only a few miles away from TVB’s own TV City studios — to build a production studio for its television dramas. However, the land remains untouched today.

Source: East Week

This article is written by Addy for

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  1. East Week again, huh? Boy, EW sure likes to publish negative HKTV articles! By the way, this news about HKTV’s financial losses is old news ….came out a few weeks ago and other media outlets already reported on it. Once again, East Week is so behind in its reporting that it has to pick up leftover scraps from other reports and embellish to have something to write about. Sad…

  2. I feel so sad for Ricky Wong. It may not have been a smart business decision to film his series first before getting a license but he sure deserves that license for his vision. And Ricky Wong is sure a fighter!

    I wonder if this article has been strategically released as Ricky Wong is appealing his case of not getting the free-to-air licence on grounds that HKTV does not have enough resources and planning.

    I smell conspiracy (or it could be that I am still suffering the after effects of “The Election”!) =D

    1. “I smell conspiracy”

      Me too. This HKTV losing money and ratings down news has been going on and on. Seems like some party insist on making HKTV look like a failure.

      1. @kidd Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever hear the end of it, as that’s what the HK media does.  Watch, as soon as The Menu finishes airing and the next series following it doesn’t achieve the viewership that it did, there will be reports that HKTV’s ratings are falling and they won’t film any more series and the hype is gone, and their series aren’t good and they’re going bankrupt, etc etc etc etc…..  Pretty much any little thing that goes wrong will be magnified tenfold and serve as a sign that HKTV is doomed…..there really isn’t much we can do except filter through all the garbage and read these articles with a grain of salt…

  3. “Though HKTV received wide support from netizens initially, viewership ratings fell dramatically over the last few months,”

    Viewership ratings has gone up again since the airing of The Menu.

    I hope HKTV can keep going. Just watch episode 1 of ‘To Be or Not to Be’ and I’m hooked. Will continue to watch it.

    I check out the comments for ‘The Second Life’ in Golden Forum and it got quite good feedback. Is their rating really bad?

    HKTV has been churning out good series for far. It will be a waste if it goes down or stop making series.

    I bought ‘The Second Life’ DVD (I like the genre and the DVD not very expensive). The series could have benefit from some better supporting actors (some of them are not professional actors, so their lack of experience and skills showed), but, the storyline is tight and meaningful. Winfred Lau gave a good performance as the lead character.

    1. @kidd Hey, where did you buy the Dvds from? Is there a DVD out for “Election” or “the menu” yet? I wouldn’t mind have those two to add to my collection at home.

      1. @elizabeth The Election DVD has been out for awhile already…in fact, there’s a special collectors edition out that has behind the scenes footage too. The way they did The Election DVD set is very similar to the way the DVD boxed sets for American TV series are done.

        @kidd: Did you get your DVD set from HKTV mall? Or are there other sites selling them now?

      2. @llwy12

        I bought it from a video shop in a mall. HKTV DVD are sold in some video shops in my country.


        Are you a Malaysian or live in Malaysia? I bought the DVD in a video store called Cheerful in Ipoh Parade.
        I’ve also seen HKTV DVD in Speedy video stores.

        I can’t answer you definitely whether ‘The Menu’ and ‘Election’ is out or not. I don’t remember all the HKTV series displayed in the store. I only remember seeing ‘To Be or Not To Be’ and ‘My Mother is Black Rose’ and ‘Second Life’.

      3. @kidd Ah, I see. Lucky you guys! I have to get my relatives in HK to buy for me once I hunt down the series I want in obscure places…lol.

        @elizabeth: If you know anyone in HK who can purchase for you, I recommend getting The Election DVD set from HKTV’s online store, since it’s the special collector’s version with all the “extra” behind-the-scenes stuff that I’m pretty sure won’t be available anywhere else (the ‘original’ version that is..I’m sure bootleg versions will start cropping up soon). The pre-order version of the DVD set even came with a specially made ballot box and commemorative ballots for both CE candidates, Yip Ching and Song Man San!

      4. @llwy12 I just finished corresponding with some staff from HKTV mall but they don’t ship to areas outside HK. Not even if I offered to pay the surface mail postage fee.

      5. @funnlim Just checked some more. This website does sell HKTV series sometimes mislabelled as TVB series but in details is HKTV. I see 2 series named by Kidd but no sign of the menu etc which means it is not out yet.

      6. @funnlim Thanks Funn. I had a look but they don’t seem to have “the Election”. I think I might to pull in some favours from my sister’s friends or I might have to wait to buy it when I eventually go to HK for a holiday.

        I am so excited that we’re up to the last ep of “the Menu”. I totally missed that hidden side of Fong Ying although looking back, the signs were there! Yips!

  4. It’s so sad when they obviously have the highest quality dramas available… If these were for the big screen each one of them would be box office hits. Really hope they find some other way to earn rev.

    1. @bubbles23 Well, its not hard to be of higher quality than TVB currently when they churn out half a show like Eye in the Sky and have been rehashing everything for the last decade.

      The main thing though is that HKTV made HK dramas finally look like they’ve caught up to the modern world. Everything from tight script, solid pacing, fleshed out storylines and excellent dialogue are all shared by good dramas and up to the present they’ve had a good number of them shown already. Proof that they’re capable and have the talent that can make a modern drama on par with the high bar set by international standards.

      However, what puts them at an advantage is that they’ve embraced a high degree of freedom in creativity. If you take a look at Golden forums, they’re winning over the younger generation who grew up with Internet which is fast replacing older mediums. Controversial topics is another big thing that has taken dramas by storm which has been incorporated into their own dramas. It connects with people as GenY has taken a much bigger step in thinking more liberal than previous generations and its not like the older generations can’t embrace topics such as the ones HKTV has been presented.

      I wouldn’t be too sad, if you live in HK then there’s probably bigger concerns than dramas. It’s only one part of a bigger problem that they’re facing with its lassiez-faire system threatened and replaced with a Russian style oligarch. Clearly evident with the disgruntlement from its local inhabitants and anecdotally speaking, the same from what I’ve gathered from relatives.

      1. @sodi Yup…well said, sodi!  In fact, The Menu’s scriptwriter Poon Man Hong gave a similar response on the ‘creative freedom’ piece during one of her interviews. She has said that she’s been wanting to write a script centered on the media/newspaper for 20 years (since she had studied journalism in college), but couldn’t do it when she was at TVB because over there, the execs/management team had the final say on what type of series they were allowed to write about / produce….if the execs didn’t like it or felt it was too controversial, then they weren’t allowed to do it.  They didn’t have creative freedom at TVB, so when she switched over to HKTV and was given the opportunity to write about whatever she wanted, she jumped at it and was able to fulfill her long-time dream.  Great decision on her part of course….

      2. @sodi agreed. I think TVB scriptwriters have tried to give out something different once in a while (Dance of passion, when heaven burns, etc…), but many projects get pushed back from being filmed due to controversial themes. TVB tries to play it safe to guarantee its family-oriented audience, but by not stretching the limits, its projects seem dull, bland and unintelligent. Or they attempt to tackle the issue with a lot of sarcasm and slapstick that it in fact trivialises the messages sent through.

        Hey, when I watched the sales presentation for “eye in the sky”, I thought it was going to be a high tech cops and robber story that hinted on the issue of privacy vs security with surveillance cameras. But somehow the project got bleached and washed through production and became another revenge and brotherhood storyline. I did enjoy EITS to some extent but I can’t help to think how it could have heen better if they stuck to the plot in the sales presentation.

        HKTV does have the advantage of broadcasting over the net so its has less restrictions than if aired on TV. But look at all the brave steps that the scriptwriters have taken to tackle borderlin

  5. Sorry, message got cut off. HKTV scriptwriters have nailed the heart of issues that comes across if our daily lives, explaining both sides of the story which allows the audience to have a good think about it. And it does so in a manner that is effective, easily understood and accepted. The dialogue is gritty but to the point. It doesnt spoonfeed us as if we are kids but instead, gives the issue to us as is. I think that is why HKTV series does drag that much because there are no filler stories to sugarcoat the harsher themes.

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