Ricky Wong Considered Buying TVB

By on November 6, 2013 in NEWS

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On November 5, HKTV chairman Ricky Wong (王維基) attended a seminar for Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s department for journalism and communication and expressed his feelings about HKTV’s current situation and the station’s dim future. The Hong Kong government’s controversial rejection of HKTV’s bid for a free-to-air television license three weeks ago led the public to form rallies and question the viability of the Hong Kong government.

Still seeking for a concrete answer for why HKTV was rejected, Ricky Wong said he will cancel his pursuit of a television business if HKTV does not earn a license within the next six months. He compared the situation like a bad relationship breakup – it is better to end things off quickly than to let it drag on forever.

Wong said he is currently looking into  alternate plans to try in the next three to six months, to see if HKTV is suitable to tackle other business aspects of television. He hinted that he is considering producing Internet dramas, but online television series have to compete against international productions, thus HKTV’s production methods will have to be changed and revised.

Wong also said he had considered buying TVB, Hong Kong’s leading television station. “I contemplated it, but [TVB] is too large, and it successfully serves a particular group of audience. It is difficult to reform an established and successful organization.”

He stressed that he never considered purchasing the ailing ATV, despite the insistence of Legislative Council member Tam Yiu Chung (譚耀宗). He said, “They shouldn’t even be called ‘Asia Television’ if they can’t do well in Hong Kong.”

In a six-page statement released yesterday, the Hong Kong government reiterated that sustaining five free television networks in Hong Kong can lead to a collapse in its free-to-air market. The statement also stressed that issuing a fifth television station will dilute the advertising revenue even further.

Furthermore, according to the government’s official response, HKTV lacked the support of a corporate parent to financially support the station, in which new free stations Hong Kong Television Entertainment and Fantastic Television, respectively subsidiaries of PCCW and i-Cable, had.

HKTV stated that the government’s statement was selective and it still left many questions unanswered.

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

43 comments to Ricky Wong Considered Buying TVB

  1. advo says:

    How wealthy is Ricky Wong?

    He isn’t wrong about TVB being a difficult company to restructure, but I’m not sure it’s any harder than to start up a new TV station with the eyes on it eventually being big enough to be profitable.

    I would say TVB’s declining ratings is an indication that TVB is no longer successfully serving that particular group of the audience.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      Still wondering why won’t he consider buying atv with a ready license. Anyway the declining ratings can be due to many reasons, like internet viewership. I don’t foresee the death of tvb. In fact tv is for many groups. They can always aim for different groups. This is just one of the many times tvb faced some internal strife. Atv at their best didnt make a huge dent. At least they are producing own shows rather than buying.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        The question is with the emergence of a wider market, can tvb still be a studio system or will there be more freelance?

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      • advo replied:

        He’s had problems with ATV in the past, so why would he buy that?

        The declining ratings are probably due to multiple reasons, but the decline in quality has also been indisputable. Also, internet viewing is hip with the young but not so much with elder generations. E.g. it should not affect TVB’s legendary housewives segment that much. Furthermore, internet viewership has steadily been growing, but TVB’s ratings decline has been more drastic the last two years or so.

        Never said it will be the death of TVB. Considering it’s practically still a monopoly – we’ll see what those new stations can bring – people who like Cantonese shows doesn’t have other options.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        True and not everyone has access to computers and internet connection and not every connection is fast enough. TV still lives on. But then so does torrent files. TVB’s main fans are the legendary housewives. That’s the ad revenues.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        In fact is ATv up for sale?

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      • llwy12 replied:

        It’s actually not a surprise that he won’t buy ATV — that ‘brand’ is already so worthless and tarnished that it’s hardly salvageable anymore. Ricky has said that even if he were to buy ATV and change its name, the ‘stigma’ toward that station will still be there and it will be very hard to reverse (especially given how much HK audiences in general are resistant to change).

        The other sentiment out there is for the government to take back ATV’s license and give it to HKTV. The interesting part is that the 6 page document details the 4 main principles and 11 primary criteria that the government went off in making their determination (and the govt claims that HKTV failed 2 of the 4 main principles, which pulled down their score and is the reason why they lost) — BUT, if you look at ATV, they actually fail all 4 principles and don’t meet most of the 11 criteria…yet, they still have their license….

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @Funn: No, ATV isn’t up for sale (though it’s not like anyone would buy it anyway even if it were…LOL). I don’t think ATV will ever be up for sale because there are plenty of Mainland investors out there willing to inject money in the station to keep it going (i.e. Wong Ching for example, who, by the way, recently pumped even more money into the station after the license decision was announced). What people are really keeping close watch on now is whether ATV will be able to get its license renewed in 2015 — the sentiment amongst the public as well as lawmakers (especially after the 6 page document was released yesterday) is that ATV should not be able to renew its license because it doesn’t meet any of the criteria and public sentiment towards the station is so low (look at how many people have been calling for ATV to be shut down)…so with this in mind, if the government still agrees to renew ATV’s license, then well, I don’t think I need to say what will most likely happen….at that point, it will be impossible for the government to ‘claim’ that they are NOT a black box operation….

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      • advo replied:

        @ llwy12

        Can the government take away ATV’s license before next year? If not, it really doesn’t matter that ATV doesn’t fulfill those criteria. Though I agree that it will be very interesting to see if ATV receives the renewal…

        Is this why Ricky Wong is waiting for with his 6 months deadline?

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @advo: The government can take back the license any time they want, though of course, in order to answer to the public, they need to have a valid reason for doing so. In this case, if the govt wanted to take back ATV’s license, they can absolutely do it based on that 6 page document alone (ATV is probably cursing the govt right now, since the release of those documents proves even more how worthless ATV is…LOL).

        Now of course, the other thing to keep in mind is that if the govt makes this move, it’s almost guaranteed that ATV will file judicial review or take some other legal action to dispute it (similar to how people can sue or charge a penalty for early contract termination or something like that), which of course would mean that the issue would get tied up in court and ATV would still have their license for however long the issue takes to resolve. That’s why the ‘easier’ method is to wait until 2015 license renewal when the govt can simply say ATV fails to meet the criteria and so don’t get a renewal — less likely ATV will be able to dispute it at that time.

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      • advo replied:

        I see. The thing I’m wondering about is if Ricky is going to hold on until the ATV matter is resolved. If he doesn’t, I have a feeling it’s because he doesn’t have enough capital. Given how much he’s already invested, giving up right now will be a huge loss. He can of course still sell his completed dramas overseas, but the dismantling will be a loss.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @advo: Honestly, I don’t know either. From the beginning, I’ve always felt that Ricky has some sort of ‘ace up his sleeve’ and despite all that’s happened, I still believe he does have it and that he’s just waiting for the right moment to produce it. No, I’m not referring to a plan B or anything (since he already confirmed he never had a Plan B), but rather something else ‘substantial’ that could turn the situation around or, at the very minimum, do some ‘damage’ to the government — (this is based on my assessment of the free TV battle the past few years)….which is why the outcome of the Legislative Council meeting going on right now will be crucial to understanding what Ricky’s next step will be. My gut feeling at the moment is that this is only the calm before the storm…

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    • itzkt replied:

      he’s really rich. i read somewhere that if he uses all his money to buy US bonds, he get a steady interest rates of 300 million USD. that’s more than enough to pay for his employees and other expenditures.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he had hidden riches somewhere because one thing about Ricky that pretty much everyone agrees on is that he absolutely knows how to make money — and lots of it.

        By the way, for those interested in learning more about who Ricky Wong is and how he came to be the billionaire business man that he is today (as well as gain some insight on why he would make such a risky move as selling CTI and forming HKTV), feel free to check out the below (article 2)….definitely makes for some interesting reading: http://llsmusings.blogspot.com/2013/10/more-updates-on-free-tv-license-issue.html

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      • sky replied:

        interest rates of 300 million just in bond…lol…he must got like 10 billion or so.

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      • Will replied:

        It’s been reported from the start that all the money that he’s invested in HKTV comes from INTEREST invested in Bonds. The interest that he’s earned has barely dented from HKTV. Financially, it’s the LEAST of his worries.

        If he can consider buying TVB, you know he has tons of money.

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  2. jokes says:

    I thought he didn’t like tvb why would someone buy something if they didn’t like it this guy is so stupid no wonder HK government wouldn’t give him a license

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    • golly replied:

      my god, your post lacks intelligence, if he buys it, of course it will be changed and remodelled to improve to a different standard. when you’re the boss, you have the say. the stupid title should be reserved for yourself.

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      • sheldon replied:

        If this so called Ricky buys TVB, it will make it worse. He isn’t that wealthy anyway

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      • Will replied:

        Sheldon, your comments reek of bias. If Ricky can consider buying TVB, he’s obviously got deeper pockets than most of you think.

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      • jokes replied:

        U got a point calling me stupid ur right Ricky can make tvb better

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  3. Vel says:

    Internet > Television. I rarely watch TV since youtube, heck I watch most of HK dramas online anyway. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make the transition to internet drama now. I’m not sure what type of license and other stipulation needed though

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  4. doremi123 says:

    I don’t think he was serious about buying TVB. Easier said than done.

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    • golly replied:

      that is why it is just a thought, he scrapped it quickly. TVB’s current boss barely gives a shtt about the employees, still an overworking heartless factory. the mean ppl that shouldn’t be in television are while the decent ones can’t get in.

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      • kiwi replied:

        TVB gives lots of shits to their employees other wise there would not be Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Aaron Kwok, Leon Lai and many successful artists out there that worked for TVB. The reason for all the bitterness is trully the personality an example of Felix Wong with the bad mouth. TVB wants to invest in the artist of course TVB would find the best to invest in other wise money lost.

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  5. sheldon says:

    Who do he think he is?? Buying TVB?? What a complete joke

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    • Yen replied:

      Agreed!!!
      If he can’t even pay the salaries for his HKTV staffs and got them jobless, how he expects to pay salaries for so so so many staffs at TVB?!!!
      I feel bad for all the artists that trusted this big mouth!!!
      Empty promises!!!!

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      • Will replied:

        Why would he need to continue paying HKTV staff’s salaries if he’s been rejected of a TV licence? Think a moment, before you speak.

        So many retards on this forum.

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  6. Mockinggenius says:

    This guy places himself on a pedestal with a golden halo on his head with 2 enormous flashing $$ signs. Reminds all who listen to him that he is very very rich with a bottomless cache of cash. Seriously if cash is no problem then he should have kept those faithful 320 sacked employees at least for another 6 months while he ponders his decision about the “future” of HKTV. An ace up his sleeves?? Ah he will buy both PCCW and Wharf the parent companies of the other 2 who were given the free tv licenses. Way to go Ricky, hahaha

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  7. Jasmine says:

    He looks like he cannot be trusted actually.

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  8. Pika says:

    The nerve this guy has. So glad he got knocked off his high horse. Karma

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  9. Bubblez says:

    he has really big dreams.

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  10. RW says:

    How could he buy a company which he has considered as a rubbish before?? Ridiculous Ricky Wong.

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  11. Mockinggenius says:

    Pika, Bubblez, RW I really admire you guys for having the courage to post your thoughts on Ricky Wong. There are so many of his worshippers who post here and to them he can do no wrong. His dramas are excellent despite having only watched 10 mins trailer, he is a caring and fair boss (I don’t know how many of them have actually worked at HKTV), too many brownie points to list here. I have been so afraid of saying out loud that I don’t like his love of trashing other people etc. Ooops now his supporters will come after me with brooms and sticks.

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    • penny replied:

      This guy is really full of empty promises

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    • Bubblez replied:

      Thanks, Mockinggenius.
      I personally see Ricky Wong doing more harm than good.
      In the first place, he should have never poached tvb’s artistes or create his company this “big” if he didn’t have the resources but most importantly, the free TV license. All of these artistes probably have their own reasons for working and whatnot. They left an established company for a company with an uncertain future. But these days, it’s difficult to find a job…

      Ricky Wong should have started with few artistes and whatnot instead of getting hundreds of workers and then having to lay them off.

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    • sehseh replied:

      Applause

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  12. ebbie says:

    Is TVB a listed company?

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    • Mockinggenius replied:

      Yes TVB is a listed company it’s latest share price is trading at HK$46.50 versus HKTV $2.39. No, I am just a poor housewife and I don’t hold shares in either.

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      • ebbie replied:

        Haha…. thanks for the info 🙂

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  13. Rachel says:

    dude, what is up with this guy? who does he think he is buying TVB? yes, tvb’s quality isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’s still a really powerful and successful company and i doubt they would have let him buy it, especially with the way he treated TVB

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    • sehseh replied:

      Ricky isn’t the only person who expressed interest in buying TVB shares. Many big corporations and billionaires also expressed interest and even getting into negotations, but in the end gets a no.

      It’s not just money talking, Ricky doesn’t have the enough connection and clout to even get into a serious negotiation. Sound like more like sour grape.

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  14. MRS. TORRES says:

    This guy is going cray cray. He is so desperate for attention. He told ppl to protest and turn off their tv and now he want to buy tvb. What else is next. Ppl that’s still working for HKTV, what do they think about their boss idea.

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