Now TV to Launch Free Channel in Hong Kong Next Year

PCCW’s free television station Hong Kong Television Entertainment (HKTVE) will be launching next year. On April 1, 2015 the Hong Kong government granted HKTVE a free-to-air television license, which will last for 12 years until 2031. PCCW, an informations and communications technology owned by Richard Li (李澤楷), also owns the cable channel Now TV.

HKTVE is expected to replace ATV, Hong Kong’s second free-to-air television station after TVB. ATV will broadcast until April 1, 2016, when its license ends.

To not be confused with Ricky Wong’s (王維基) HKTV, sources say HKTVE is in the midst of undergoing a name change. HKTVE’s slogan is “No need battles. Only move forward.” Further details will be revealed on October 20.

TVB and HKTVE will not be the only two competitors in Hong Kong’s TV market. The two free-to-air stations will also be competing in the web television market once Netflix, Fox, and China’s LeTV launch in Hong Kong next year.

The war of television has been heating up Hong Kong since October 2013, when HKTVE and i-Cable’s Fantastic Television successfully applied for entry in Hong Kong’s free television market. HKTV was rejected, but the High Court ruled in April 2015 that the rejection was unlawful and urged the government to reconsider.

Source: IHKTV

This article is written by Addy for

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    1. @coralie, no its the end of tvb.ratings now are around 20 points with more choice for hk ppl, tvb’s rating will drop to 10 points or below i think.

      1. @kolo TVB won’t really ever end…that’s the problem.

        What I really am wondering though, is if HKTV will still be able to broadcast and make dramas…

    2. @coralie Well, depends on the way you look at it.  HKTV did win their judicial review over the license decision, though the government has already appealed – and if government succeeds, Ricky Wong will most likely appeal….my guess is that it will be an endless court battle that will go on for years (similar to the way the Stephen Chan corruption case has been dragging on in the courts for who knows how long now).   And until Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying steps down, there is no way HKTV’s new application (which they submitted in early 2014 if I remember correctly) will get approved either.  Ricky Wong knows this for a fact, which is why he has already announced that HKTV will not be producing any more TV series if they don’t get a license.  Currently, in addition to ramping up his HKTV Mall, HKTV’s new direction will be to go the movie production route…also, they recently re-started construction on their multi-media production studio in Tseung Kwan O.  Based on recent interviews with CRHK and RTHK a few weeks ago, it sounds like Ricky Wong is pretty much waiting to see what happens in 2017 (when Leung Chun Ying’s term as CE is up) and also waiting to see the outcome of their judicial review on the mobile TV broadcasting issue before they make any further decisions on the television side of things. [Sidenote:  the mobile TV judicial review decision came out yesterday – HKTV lost, as the courts ruled in favor of the government/Communications Authority….Ricky Wong is already thinking about appealing…].

      1. @m0m0 Good question. Your guess is as good as mine. In the months following the license decision in October 2013, there were dozens upon dozens of articles and commentaries discussing that exact question – what was behind Leung Chun Ying’s decision to deny HKTV a license (and to give such a lame, flimsy so-called ‘justification’ that did nothing to clarify matters and instead made the situation worse.) There was a lot of speculation, but no one was able to come up with a ‘reason’ that made true logical sense…looks like only CY Leung himself will ever know the truth. One ironic twist though – in the earlier mentioned radio interviews, it was revealed that Ricky Wong was actually part of the 1200 member “election committee” that chose the Chief Executive back in 2012….Ricky Wong didn’t come right out and say it, but when the host pressed him on whether he had voted for Leung Chun Ying back then, he didn’t deny it….

      2. @llwy12 i hope leung will step down in 2017,since his govermentship the society is going from bad to worser,the promises he made has never come many tensions under the population. the wrong decisions he made,not talking about the corruption cases and scandals under his reign.this guy is really a nightmare for hongkong.

      3. @kolo Rumor has it CY Leung may seek another term…and without any other better candidates and a limited “election committee”, it’s possible he might get it, in which case Ricky Wong can kiss his chance at a TV license good-bye for good. From past interviews, it sounded like Ricky Wong was hoping that the universal suffrage proposal for the 2017 CE election (even though not truly ‘universal’) was his best chance, since, if given the chance to vote now, no Hong Konger in their right mind would choose CY Leung again to be CE….but now that the universal suffrage bill has been knocked down (and coincidentally after that CY Leung hinted at the possibility of seeking another term), Ricky Wong is pretty much in ‘wait and see’ mode. It also makes sense that, the day after the universal suffrage proposal failed in Legco, Ricky Wong commented that television is no longer ‘do-able’ and he started to more actively pursue other avenues, such as movies and also re-vamping HKTV mall (as well as collaborating with business sponsors on microfilms/commercials for their products).

      4. @llwy12 Is it fair to say CY is pretty much a puppet for the Mainland government? Without the Chinese government giving the other two companies the go ahead, I doubt they will receive the licenses.

        I’ve always had the impression that Ricky Wong has been too forth coming with his “media freedom” stance and that has the Chinese government worried. He’s always made the statement that he wants to make a tv station for the HK people. Not exactly what the Chinese government wants to hear, especially when they are trying to diminish Cantonese bit by bit.

        I guess its all speculations since we’ll never know what goes on behind closed doors.

      5. @minyveg All 3 of HK’s Chief Executives were ‘puppets’ for the Mainland government – there’s no doubt about that.  As for whether Mainland influenced CY Leung’s decision to deny HKTV a license, there are different perspectives, at least from what I’ve read.  Some analysts felt that CY Leung made the decision on his own accord because he ‘assumed’ that’s what his bosses up North would’ve wanted given Ricky Wong’s outspokenness and how difficult it would be to control him (along the lines of the “media freedom” point you made earlier)….others feel that it was direct order from Beijing.  Interestingly enough, Ricky Wong has sided with the former ‘theory’ rather than the latter  – meaning that he feels it’s CY Leung who is against him and not the Mainland government (he has publicly emphasized this point several times in various speeches after his license was denied).  Again, it’s all speculation, even on Ricky Wong’s part, since he obviously can’t read CY Leung’s mind and doesn’t know himself why things happened the way they did.    And yes, I agree with the recent ‘complaints’ that everyone always seems quick to blame Mainland government  for every political struggle that happens in HK, but honestly, it’s not like the CCP is helping their cause any when they’ve got high-ranking officials making stupid comments such as that one recently about the Chief Executive being “sovereign” above all branches of government (I like to call it “the Chief Executive is God” speech…lol).

      6. @llwy12 Haha I’ve read about those speculations. My take on it is, Ricky Wong has gotten smarter with his choice of words and actions. There’s no harm in putting all the “blame” on CY because he will eventually step down, but the Chinese government will always be around. There’s really no reason to piss them off even more, well unless of course Ricky Wong decides he doesn’t want to do business in China ever again.

        From what I’ve read and seen about Ricky Wong, he’s too smart to make the same mistake twice.

        Back on topic, I did enjoy some of HKTV’s drama and I am sad it was so short lived. I hope the other two stations would put some “heart” into their dramas and not waste the license. I miss watching Chinese dramas in Cantonese.

      7. @minyveg Behind the scene stuff aside, arrogance was definitely a part of it. Not something you want when dealing with an ideological government, see Jimmy Lai as an example, wealthy tycoon that wasn’t invited to Beijing for closed door meeting and was at the forefront of the Umbrella Revolution.

        I doubt though that China has their hand in every little matter so it’s typical bureaucracy at work, lower guy trying to please the higher guy, etc. While I have doubts about him as a person, I do believe he’s got good business sense. After all, he did build his wealth against tremendous odds.

  1. im not sure if leung will have a good chance for new a term since the communistic party leader isnt really fond of him,i think john tsang will have a good chance if he decide to take part of the election.i think he is very capable politician that really can do something about the many problem issue’s.if he become new governour maybe hktv will have a chance to revive then.

  2. Well good news for us who love HK drama!! Since TVB will be facing real competitors soon, I really hope they can buck up on their quality or scripts and celebrities.

    1. @dramadrama To me, it depends.  The only way TVB will change is if they face real, direct competition and so far, the only station that came close (in recent years) was HKTV.  From the getgo, NowTV (HKTVE) had said that their focus would be on expanding Mainland market and their series would primarily be HK/Mainland collaborations (unless plans have changed now that they actually have their license in their hands) – if that’s the case, TVB doesn’t have a whole lot to worry about on the HK front, as they would essentially still be the main player.  Even the potential ‘new players’ vying for a free TV license (ATV led by new management/owners and the David Chiu / Pansy Ho consortium) are Mainland-driven in terms of focus and target audience….just like the others, neither group is interested in making truly HK-flavored dramas for HK audiences.

      It’s actually pretty obvious that TVB doesn’t view the ‘new players’ coming into the market as a threat, since they didn’t bother to “up their game” like they did 2-3 years ago when HKTV was at the top of their game.  Ricky Wong and HKTV may have ‘failed’ in terms of getting a license, but one thing they definitely succeeded in – albeit for a short amount of time — was forcing TVB to make changes and reinstate some employee benefits that had been taken away in the post-Uncle Six (Run Run Shaw) era (i.e. some employees who had never gotten raises for 10 years suddenly got salary increase, company dinners that included all employees were reinstated, small “perks” that had been around during Uncle Six’s time such as transportation money for employees were reinstated, etc.). 

      Despite everything going on, I personally don’t think that things are going to change a whole lot on the free TV side of things, at least not within the next 1 to 2 years.  It takes more than just money to build a successful TV station – not everyone has the drive, vision, persistence, and business acumen that Run Run Shaw did and even then, it took years for TVB to become a powerhouse success (of course, the circumstances and environment at that time played a huge role as well).   Ricky Wong had the drive and the vision and obviously the acumen as well as the potential to succeed  (I had written a post a few years back about how Ricky Wong had targeted TVB’s pain points when forming HKTV, just like Run Run Shaw had targeted ATV’s pain points back when he formed TVB), but unfortunately he went about things the wrong way from the getgo (plus his personality didn’t help him any) and it ended up backfiring.  Until another Run Run Shaw or Ricky Wong comes along and proves to me that they are serious about producing quality HK dramas (which I doubt will ever happen now that HK has returned to China and the focus more and more is on the Mainland market), I don’t feel there is much hope for HK dramas or even the HK television industry as a whole anymore.

  3. What was the reason for the gov’t to reject HKTV? What’s changed since then that now the gov’t saw a new light and granted HKTVE the license? It’s fishy…

    *disclaimer: TL:DR the other comments.

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