HKTV Achieves Poor Viewership Ratings, Losing to Even ATV

Although there were positive reviews and buzz over new station HKTV, The Election <選戰> and The Borderline <警界線> achieved poor viewership ratings. While TVB’s ratings for its current Anniversary series, Overachievers <名門暗戰> and Come On, Cousin <老表,你好Hea!> remained stable and unaffected, HKTV’s viewership ratings were so low that they failed to even beat struggling Hong Kong station, ATV.

HKTV Dramas – Overhyped and Overrated?

Before HKTV’s online platforms were launched on November 19, there were speculations that The Election and The Borderline will significantly undermine TVB’s viewership ratings. Although HKTV reported that they averaged 358,000 viewers per day, the source of the data was questioned as they were subjective estimates.

Dubious of the numbers, TVB recalculated the ratings of all three stations, using the Nielsen TAM rating reports. Based on TVB’s research and calculations, the ratings from November 19 to 25 during TV prime time hours from 8:00 p.m to 10 p.m. were as follows: TVB had 53.7 points with 3.48 million viewers;  ATV had 5.2 points with 337, 000 viewers, and HKTV had 3.8 points with 246, 000 viewers. As for Internet viewership, TVB had 4.8 points and HKTV had 2.8 points.

Although HKTV Chairman Ricky Wong (王維基) directly challenged TVB since its establishment, it was evident that TVB’s viewership ratings remain largely unaffected.

TVB is Still Number One

TVB Deputy Director of External Affairs, Tsang Sing Ming (曾醒明), expressed his unwavering confidence in the company. “TVB has always maintained a very stable performance. The program, Working Golden Holidays <超齡打工假期> generated surprising results. According to market research reports, the station has not lost viewers since [HKTV] launched.”

Roger Kwok (郭晉安), who stars in Come On, Cousin also conveyed his confidence. Roger said, “HKTV has done a lot of promotions, but you can clearly see the end results of their viewership ratings.”


This article is written by Su for

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  1. Since HKTV is on an internet platform, ratings for a fixed time slot are relatively meaningless as people can watch at any time. To that extent, HKTV should post no threat to TVB ratings as viewers do not have to sacrifice one in order to watch the other.

    At the end of the day, HKTV’s success will have to be measured by how much its viewers actually make purchases online. That is how it pays its bills, not by ratings.

    1. HKTV will also have to rely on ad sales, sponsorships and distribution rights.

      I think it’s dumb to compare the two though since HKTV runs on an on-demand model for viewers. Viewers can watch content whenever they want with HKTV. Why would they watch the live stream when shows debut 10 hours before they air on the live stream and viewers can pause and rewind episodes of the shows they’re watching?

      1. Distribution rights can be problematic because of HKTV’s web based platform. Also, online ad sales are generally limited and command very low fees.

      2. HKTV’s content is only available to viewers in HK. It will not affect their distribution rights at all, as they’ve already sold their content to most Asian territories except Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan. HKTV’s content roll-out model is like the free version Hulu in that content is only available to viewers in a specific region. There are four to five act breaks in each episode, allowing for 16 minutes of ads, just like on free to air TV.

        HKTV reportedly has comparable ad rates to TVB. Ad sales do not command low rates in the online world – ever heard of Vice Media? They are a net-based media company and they are worth $2.5 billion.

  2. Stupid ,ridiculous article.both stations are at extreme ends. One is an established station who has huge communication and public relation back ups as well government affairs while the other is solely based on the Internet platform who basically went through battles with everyone and everything within Hong Kong and china. It would be a joke if tvb is still so confident about their viewership when everyone knows it’s at a decreasing slope and the thing that tvb still has is their reputation from 20 or 30 years ago

    1. is this like america where you have to pay for it? i know like when oprah launched her channel and it wasn’t successful right away even though oprah was behind it. now i have it for the cheapest dish price.

  3. I give HKTV credits for at least trying. Besides HK series, they also dubbed Korean TV series and dubbed cartoons. More choice is better for all the Cantonese people that want to watch drama’s. TVB research is also subjective, so it’s not that you can trust them either.

    Besides, TVB and ATV have the huge advantage that (older) people can watch these channels quite easily. If you want to watch HKTV, you have to open an app on your TV or use an TV box, that could be a challenge for the elderly people. It would only be fair if the HK government have granted a TV license to HKTV.

    Recent news also suggest that ATV won’t be getting a new TV license, so it could be the end of ATV.

  4. The report was done by TVB. That says everything about this article.

    The truth is the ratings for all of TVB’s dramas (OA, COC, TC2) decreased and the ratings for the Anniversary Gala hit an all-time low. Instead of wasting time of making a report to try to undermine the competition, why not spend your energy to figure out how to make more quality shows?

    1. Exactly.

      It is so glaring obvious that this report is just media playing TVB and soooo one sided. It is so funny that they think anyone with their fair mind will buy this kind of report.

    2. Agreed!!. This article is mean to make TVB look good. Bias report.

  5. i know HKTV came out with two series but i never watched it looks boring and the lack of artist in it

    1. Even TVB is having a hard time with enough experienced actists. As mentioned earlier, quite a lot of experienced artists consider leaving TVB. This results in newbies having lead roles.

    2. actually police boundaries is very interesting. it’s like the UC show but more intriguing. every episode you think you learned something, you are actually further away from the truth. the pace, preview, and filming styles do take getting use it. it often confuse me that they mix past episode reviews w/ previews of the current episode. i hope they will stop doing that b/c i always thought i missed something

    1. agree

      i has watched they serie, i stop after 20 minutes… not that great

  6. I think the reason why HKTV has lower ratings than expected is because it really is a hassle to use the app as compared to just turning on the TV. and since it’s online streaming, it doesn’t necessarily have to be watched on HKTV’s apps.

    And there’s no doubt that the standards of TVB dramas have been lowered, but i really do not believe it’s as bad as it seems. Yes, when looking at just the ratings, it’s quite poor compared to just 5-7 years ago when Heart of Greed garnered 50 points. But it’s not completely TVB’s quality to blame, we’re living in a technological world and less people are going to sit in front of a TV at 8:30 to watch a show when htey know it will be online in a couple of hours. I feel like with all the bashing on TVB, they’re really not as terrible as we’re making it to be. Yes, the quality has gone down, but as the same time people are pickier and complain about everything. Even HKTV is getting complaints and their dramas are clearly good quality! Not everyone can be pleased so comparing TV stations is pointless.

    1. I think everyone is more pickier than ever on tvb because we all know tvb is such a huge monopoly who doesn’t give a shit about anyone and still think their stronger and the best. That’s basically like a bully who’s clearly doesn’t see that bullying is a problem and to make things even more ugly, they’re still as boastful as ever

      1. You do realise TVB was once the underdog who gave Hong Kong people a choice. They have got where they are because of their effort. ATV’s predecessors were once the leader in the industry but they got complacent. Now we will see whether TVB become complacent enough to allow another rival station to strike them down.

        In the future if it happens, you will be sprouting the same crap about the new station being a monopoly and a big bully. People need to look and stop acting all high and mighty.

      2. Really? Because my impression was tvb > atv, i know about tvb since i was 7… And i only know about atv when im like 12-13… And even then, in my eye, tvb production has always been so much better than ATV

      3. @littlefishy,
        I am guessing you are still very young so did not know that AtV existed before Tvb. In my opinion,ATV made many really good series that were much better than Tvb back then. I just feel sad that AtV has become the way it is now. However,it seems like TV stations like Tvb are surviving not because they make high quality series,but it is the fact that they try to use as less money and resources as possible to try to make as big as a profit as possible. AtV paid their artists more so maybe try did not profit as much which is now leading to their downfall.

      4. ATV was founded before TVB but they both started with series in 1980.

        ATV had good series, but they lost their way since 90s and it becomes more significant in late 90s. Now it is sold to a Chinese company and lets see how it turns to be.

      5. Actually, that’s inaccurate – both TVB and ATV were already producing series way before 1980 (there are plenty of good series that both stations made back in the 1970s).  In fact, TVB already hit the floor running with series almost from the day they started in 1967.  And ATV (or shall I say RTV, which was their name back then) was producing series way back in the day as well (in the 1970s).

        ATV (under the name RTV) was actually HK’s first television station (they started in 1957) but the problem is that they were a cable operator up until the mid 1970s — they became free-to-air TV station several years after TVB was – that’s one (of the many) reasons why TVB was able to overtake them so quickly despite starting up 10 years after them (TVB was a free-to-air operator right from the start…and they were already producing series from the start as well, whereas RTV didn’t really get into series until the mid-1970s).

    2. This is coming from an abc who is twenty years old who only had access to tvb and not atv… I guess that’s the generation difference between the atv and tvb versus tvb and hktv era

  7. Actually, how does one compare a free to view tv channel versus an on demand, pay to view model?

    Its like

    1) One has its program at a fixed time slot and is free to view


    2) The other is a on demand model where others have to pay to view it. Furthermore, it isnt even a tv.

  8. This article itself was a waste of time to read, considering that it was not conducted by a neutral body and is a terrible comparison.

    Comparing TVB and HKTV for viewership ratings, is like comparing an apple to an orange. It’s a stupid comparison as both broadcasting models are completely different.

    1. I agree that this article was a waste of time to read (though the original article was way worse….this one has been toned down a bit).  Anyone who isn’t blind can see that there is no comparison, since TVB and ATV are actually TV channels while HKTV is an online shopping channel + on-demand mobile streaming network – the broadcasting methods and platforms are completely different.   Such a dumb article!   Instead of obsessing over ratings reports that essentially compare apples to oranges (and making themselves look desperate and pathetic in the process), TVB should focus on improving the quality of their series, making changes for the better, and coming up with more innovative ways to compete  – that’s what TVB’s founding father Sir Run Run Shaw did back when he started the station in 1967 and it’s what Ricky Wong did the past 3 years with HKTV. So TVB — forget about the ratings and stop trying to annihilate HKTV..instead, step up your own game and prove to us that you are still worth our support!

      1. Well said llwy12! This article is a load of BS. Tvb really needs to step up to the plate or else they will regret it down the line. My family hardly watches Tvb now due to all of the low quality series. It is sad because back in the days,Tvb was what we watched the most. But nowadays ,the competition is a lot tougher due to other choices such as China,Korea,Japan,etc… Back in the days,those other options did not really exist.

      2. Lol, who cares lol even you are not watching. TVB is still a very successful billion dollar empire lol. Then u just watch others japan or korea or whatever enough. Duh

  9. I have watched the first episode of the Borderline and the Election. I disliked them so much that I have stopped watching HKTV entirely. Just waste of my time. I am not saying that everything from TVB is good. TVB also produces bad dramas that I don’t watch.

  10. HKTV is soo dark theme and not family friendly… TV prime time is all about family type serie, these are too dark for the HK audience at this current situation they are right now. Not kidding I felt asleep with “The Election” drama. Sry I’ll stay with the repetitive TVB serie over HKTV.

    1. i didn’t like the election. i stopped watching it after 2/3 into the first episode. i do like police boundaries.

    2. The election, i watch 20mins really wanted to falling asleep. The borderline story plot is good but too bad with all the ex keh leh feh from tvb and some unpopular actors/actresses in drama industry, its really hardly to continue watching. lol
      TVB overachiever so nice ler. And that new drama lady sour also not that bad le at least can have the mood to continue watching. Better than this election really OMFG…@@

  11. American, Korean, Taiwan series/drama is way better then comes TVB… HKTV is way far behind their quality is good but something is not right with their serie and story it’s too boring.

    Maybe HKTV needs to do an asian version of “The Walking Dead” then i’ll watch =P

    1. Good idea of the asian version of TWD then i’ll watch too lol………

    2. You stupid? TVB is merely cantanose drama. Its stupid to compare with cantanose with chinese speaking/english/or others language drama. Totally different feeling. Its totally different. Duh

      1. i couldn’t register. i tried register they never sent me the confirmation email.

      2. @m0m0:  When did you register?  Was it fairly recent?  HKTV had posted a message on their Facebook page last week stating that new user registration confirmations / setups will be delayed, as their tech team’s focus right now is tweaking their app and fixing the server issues that users had been complaining about.  I would suggest sending their support team an email letting them know that you didn’t receive the confirmation email – they’ve actually been pretty good about taking in audience feedback and making improvements based on the feedback (unlike TVB who doesn’t give a crap what the audiences think).  HKTV has actually been pretty open about some of the issues that were brought up by users / audiences and have even been taking the time to address some of the concerns one by one either on their Facebook page or via individual email.

      3. Thanks IIWy, I will give that a try. I do want to support them.

  12. Everyone knows HKTV is internet based. Who on earth still watches tv during prime time??

    And everyone knows that tbb dramas are really, really, really crappy. HKTV’a production is a million times better.

    1. better or not better not judged based on your ignorant comment lor. Its must still be judged either by ratings or profits earn or any others way deemed relevant.

  13. I’m going to give TVB the benefit of the doubt and trust their report. They did get their information from Nielsen. I’m not going to go into the credibility of Nielsen, but we rely on Nielsen in the US so it’s good enough for me.

    I don’t believe HKTV could hurt TVB’s ratings because their target audiences are different, especially their primetime programming. I do believe HKTV can make TVB improve it’s series regardless of whether it’s ratings drop. The fact that there is another local production that is arguably of a better quality should pressure TVB to change. If HKTV can do it, TVB has no excuse. It’s not like comparing mainland budgets with TVB. Anything HKTV can do, TVB should be able to do.

    1. P.s. I find both HKTV series to be worth a watch. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I think there is a good niche market for them. I don’t remember the last time I paid as much attention to an episode of a Chinese series as I did for the Election.

  14. Watched 2 ep of B n had to stop, cant focus mannnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!

    1. wow, another bad comment about borderline, initially i would give it a go if a lot praise it (like line walkers, and line walkers is overhype, and decent but not that great). Now im just going to not bother lol

      1. The bad comments are from HKTV haters. The Borderline has been great so far with the countless surprises and plot twists.

      2. agree w/ miriam. i like borderline. it’s a better story than LW

  15. they can pretend that hktv shows arent better than current tvb stuff, but most smart viewers are already seeing that hktv shows are actually pretty good

    and how do u even compare lol, im course they wont affect TVBs tv ratings, hktv cant even show their shows on TV LOL

  16. dont look too much into TV ratings vs. internet ratings, they dont even compare lol

    but hktv is moving towards american tv like production and tvb is just same old tvb…its just wut u prefer, i prefer hktv shows, at least they are watchable, i havent watched a full tvb series in 5 years

  17. So let’s bring HKTV as a normal televised channel instead of a internet platform then we can start having a fair ratings figure.

  18. oh come on, tvb has been around for wut 50 years? hktv just started broadcasting shows for wut 1 month? 1 month lol

    not even fair to compare

    1. Let’s all buy a half decent video camera and start shooting our own HKTV style productions. Ok I might be a little too harsh there but those who have seen their productions will know what I’m talking about. By the way HKTV aren’t anywhere near America’s productions. Not even Korean, Taiwanese or Japanese…I would even go as far as say Mainland.

      1. @Ginger

        Your comparisons are absurd!

        First of all, HKTV hasn’t broadcast a completed series yet, so you can tell by a measly 9 episodes that Korea, Taiwan and Japan have better production?

        I politely disagree with you!

        So far, The Elections (and I am only using this series as a base for comparison) is on the same level as Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese productions. Mainland is complete junk, they can’t even produce a political or fantasy/historical drama without the CCP having their hands in it. They are so limited in the area of creative writing. They can never be better than foreign produced entertainment with this stranglehold.

        TVB is at the bottom of the barrel, hell they are not even in the same league. Comparing HKTV vs TVB (only on overall production value) is like comparing a high school play against a professional production. I’ll even go as far as saying that amateur production on Youtube has better production value than TVB.

      2. Forgot to mention that HKTV’s camera equipment is hollywood-grade, possessing one of the best Audio/Video equipment sets in Asia. In HK, they have the best equipment, even better than those in the HK movie industry.

        The use of dim lighting (natural light) is by choice, NOT because of limitation. They can easily brighten up the images if they wish. Unfortunately, most people either don’t have their TV sets calibrated properly, or they are streaming/downloading from a low-grade video source.

      3. “A half decent” video camera for TV will cost $6000-7000. HKTV uses the ARRI ALEXA and a single ALEXA will cost $80k. I’m sure they can choose to correct the colour in post production if they want to. I think it’s by choice that the Election is shot that way. The cinematography in the Borderline is a lot brighter and vibrant.

      4. @Anon and based:  You guys are absolutely right – it IS by choice that The Election is shot that way.  In fact, for episode 3, the production team “brightened” the lighting because people were saying that it was too dark (though they also kept the “original” version with the dark lighting available on their website for those viewers – like me for example – who have no problem with the natural lighting).

        Honestly, it’s obvious that a lot of the negative comments are from HKTV / Ricky Wong haters (especially those comments that give a general “HKTV sucks” type message with no argument to back them up whatsoever).  Most of the criticisms so far have been the “grasping at straws” type that, to me, are a sign of desperation on the part of the person criticizing.   Well, Ricky Wong haters can hate him all they want and let that hatred blind them – doesn’t affect those of us who care more about the finished product that HKTV has to offer (which so far has exceeded expectations).

      5. well, i have to say tvb does make better dramas than mainland. mainland drama is way too draggy.

      6. @momo
        Not all China series are draggy so you should not stereotype that all of them are like that.

  19. I honestly don’t think HKTV’s 2 dramas are that great at all. Overhyped. I started watching it expecting it to be really good. But what a letdown. I fell asleep watching The Election. So boring that I stopped watching after the first 3 episodes. The Borderline is not that much better either. Sorry I’m sticking with TVB.

    1. Agree. It’s literally dark until I wonder if my iPad gas an issue. Over acting. Liu Kai Chi trying too hard to be cool. He is like the superstar here with two shows all featuring him. Election is so boring. Sticking to tvb too. Simple fun no need to think too hard after a hard day at work. That’s what prime time tv is about.

      1. They are both on demand so the concept of prime time may not be applied.

      2. Eletion, i watch first episode only. until 20mins, really cant stand it,,bored like hell. hahaha. I am no biased lor, really superb bored@@

  20. A lot of those actor/actress in the end will just have to change career I presume, with such bad drama story plot they including the station HKTV won’t go far. Overrated and Overhype both serie such a huge let down.

  21. Watching HKTV requires intelligence, and that’s something that that not all TVB viewers have. That’s why they are drawn to it cause TVB tells you exactly what’s going on with the plot. There’s no suspense, no twists, they tell you that 1+1=2. You don’t need to think, hence they are great for the mindless sheeps.

  22. Typical of TVB to add further fuel to the fire as they were rumored to be partly behind the HK Govt not granting free to air TV license to HKTV by pulling some political strings.

    Wonder what would happen if Ricky Wong were to pool his own financial resources to hire ‘experts’ to recalculate TVB’s ratings and produce the result that TVB’s ratings are much lower than reported?

  23. I find it surprising that Tvb chose to spent some resources and recalculate the numbers. Isn’t it better to divert that resources to improving its dramas?

    I love what HKTV is doing in terms of the cinematography and set design for the 2 series.

    1. Of course, they felt HTVK a threat so they must do something to prove

    2. I’m not surprised at all, as this is the type of petty stuff that TVB does all the time.  They know how to use the Media to their advantage (anyone who has been in the HK entertainment business for long enough understands how the HK media works and the impact it has on mainstream HK audiences – it’s not that hard to play the media game if you’re good at it).  For example – variations of the above article have already been re-printed by most of the HK tabloids and media outlets, so imagine how many people in HK have already read it…and out of those who read it, how many actually “analyze” the article like we do and are able to filter out the B.S. from the worthwhile stuff?  Not the majority, that’s for sure!  Most typical HK audiences will read this type of article the same way they read those gossip rags – they believe whatever they read the first time they read it and don’t bother seeking clarification because they don’t have the time nor energy for that kind of “extra work”.  To me, this is a typical TVB move – sad and disappointing yes, but surprised, no.

  24. It’s totally absurd to compare an established TV station with an Internet based platform. We are living in a world where ratings doesn’t mean much anymore; just because you have more people tuning in to your channel doesn’t mean that your productions are good and vice versa. Technology is so advanced nowadays that people tend to want to choose when and what they want to watch at their own convenience. HKTV’s loss in acquiring the free TV license is actually a gain in my opinion.

  25. tvb can compare all they want, but it doesnt change the fact that their own ratings are lowest its ever been…their 2014 shows are averaging like 25pts…considering that theres no other shows to watch on hong kong tv, their ratings are horrible

    1. Very good point!

      The bottom line is that this is a game TVB can lose only on their own without any external factors.

  26. For HKTV, the VOD numbers will be much more important after a month because most people don’t watch on a daily basis. They often watch a number of shows at time, so the accumulated numbers on this platform are much more important to advertisers. They also often watch those show all at once in weekends, so one week numbers don’t mean much for now.

  27. It was probably a mistake for HKTV to launch 2 rather dark dramas at once. I would have included a more light hearted show that is more easily enjoyed by a mass audience.

    Looking forward to those shows soon.

    1. True perhaps but can’t really fault them, as they went off of what audiences wanted (The Election received the highest number of votes during the polling period when audiences were allowed to vote for which series they wanted to watch first and The Borderline received the second highest number)….so it makes sense why they decided to air those 2 series first. When they voted, HK audiences already knew what the subject matter would be with both series as well as who the cast consisted of, so to me, the question of why HKTV chose to air these 2 series first rather than others is sort of a moot point.

      I’m looking forward to the more lighthearted dramas as well but I don’t have a problem at all with the 2 series currently airing…both are great series and well worth watching. 🙂

  28. i wouldn’t call these shows dark, its just that tvb makes their shows for 10-80 year olds…they are so safe and its all rated G, tvb cant even have PG or PG13 rated shows

    tvb never makes shows to target certain audiences and age groups, thats why they are doing bad, thats why every shows seems to be the same style

  29. Both “reports” are rigged. TVB said HKTV report is not true so TVB did its own calculation. Ugh, duh, I wonder who TVB reports gonna favor?? *roll eyes*

  30. lol nice try TVB, but only stupid people would fall for your misleading biased trickery rating measurements. You, TVB, may have time slots, doesn’t mean other stations do as well. 8PM-10PM? lol. If you’re being selective like this then I’d like to know what the ratings were from 6pm-8pm. Probably got owned by HKTV and ATV during that time slot. Oh I’m sorry, TVB doesn’t broadcast their drama series from 6pm-8pm. Sorry for the unfair comparison. Not.

  31. LOL, this article is so full of BS! I just watched episode 1 of Borderline, am very impressed. Based on what I saw, HKTV is miles ahead. And TVB will have to find some way to catch up at the rate it is crawling.

  32. Call TVB crap all you want, but when I’m tired and just wanna have dinner in peace – 愛回家 is perhaps one of the most relieving dramas of all time. Very simple, hilarious, and reminds you of how lovely having a family is. Yes, they make corny jokes and the drama really has no depth to it- but sometimes that’s just what you need in life to balance out the rest of the crap that goes on.

    Unfortunately HKTV doesn’t really fit the bill for me. I can see that they’re trying to make things more in-depth but the storylines don’t seem to piece together much. It’s almost as if they tried to take too much on but didn’t have the talent to piece it all together. I mean most of what they’re doing is just picking up the artists that tvb didn’t want.

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