Tuesday, June 25, 2013

News Article: Revolution put on hold as HKTV wins online support but still no licence

Here’s the latest news article about HKTV.  I haven’t watched the preview of “The Challenge” yet (though I plan on doing so in the next few days) but from what I’ve read about the experience (from the artists’ weibos and various news articles), it definitely sounded like a unique, interesting experience! 

One thing that I was disappointed about after reading the article is that we definitely won’t get to see the next episode of Borderline anytime soon, since Ricky Wong stated that he won’t air it until HKTV gets their license. 

Arghhh!!!  Damn government issue those licenses already!!!


Revolution put on hold as HKTV wins online support but still no licence
But the television station says its plans for a revolution are on hold as it waits for a licence

More than 500,000 internet users have shown their support for Ricky Wong Wai-kay's television station by watching its online drama premiere, but the prolonged wait for a licence has put what might be a revolution in Hong Kong's television industry on hold.

Artists who have jumped ship to Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) said they wanted to produce programmes that put the audience first, which they say they could not do with market leader TVB.

"We feel so helpless," said Ai Wai, who worked at TVB for 33 years. "We just don't understand that on one hand, [the government said] the licence would be given as soon as possible. But the Executive Council could suddenly take a day off. Why?"

He said a television revolution was under way: "We are challenging the system."

HKTV made its online premiere 12 days ago, showing the first episode of crime thriller Borderline.

It earned nearly 509,000 hits and rave reviews from users, who praised the quality of filming and depth - a stark contrast to TVB soap operas.

HKTV followed this up with a 30-minute preview of its infotainment programme The Challenge - depicting artists' extreme experiences in nature - at a cinema yesterday.

The preview showed Ai, Lau Yuk-chui and Lawrence Chou Tsun-wai on an expedition into the Son Doong cave in central Vietnam. The seven-kilometre cave is the largest of its kind in the world and houses fossils, desert, forest, terraces and underground rivers. The five-episode journey cost HK$1 million to film.

The journey by the 15-member crew, including the production team and professional explorers from Hong Kong and Britain, took a week. People hired to help carry food, fuel and power generators and act as guides brought the number to 60.

"We hope to be creative, and be responsible to our audience," said award-winning actress Lau.

The 20-year TVB veteran said colleagues there wanted to produce quality programmes but the system demanded that they finish as soon as possible. "TVB focuses more on money, and time is money," Ai said.

HKTV now spends an average of HK$1 million on one drama episode and has spent HK$300 million so far.

Chief executive To Wai-bing said the station was financially healthy and would seek to improve its income through investment.

She said the completion of a multimedia production centre in Tseung Kwan O had been delayed by six months because of design changes. During the annual Filmart movie and television fair in March the station had received requests from potential buyers but was in no rush to sell the shows before they were aired, she said.

Wong said he wanted serious infotainment programmes to set the trend, instead of spoon-feeding viewers dumbed-down content.

In response to requests for the second episode of Borderline, Wong said: "You better ask [Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying]."

He said the second episode would not be shown until he got a licence.

HKTV, Fantastic Television, and HK Television Entertainment applied for licences between December 2009 and March 2010 but no timetable has been given for approval.


  1. Can they sell their drama to overseas buyer if they dont have that TV licence from government?

    Is it possible to pressure the government to give out the license via petitions?

    I just dont know why the government is delaying the decision.

    I have yet to watch the preview coz I am less interested in variety like such show (travel/info) except for celebs interview :P, than drama.

  2. @fangorn: I would think that HKTV should be able to sell their dramas overseas without a license (I’m not familiar with the legalities of it, but just speaking from logic, it makes sense that they should be able to). At the very minimum, if the license thing doesn’t pan out, they could always air their series on the Internet or do some type of subscription based thing like Netflix (I for one wouldn’t mind paying to watch their series). Based on the number of hits they received for Borderline and the trailers of the series, there definitely seems to be a market for their series online.

    Of course, the only problem is that Ricky Wong doesn’t want to go that route because he insists that since HKTV is the ‘HK people’s station’, his first priority should be actually television viewing audiences in HK.

    Honestly, I don’t know if anything is going to work at this point in terms of putting pressure on the government to issue the licenses. If the rumor of the government delaying the licenses due to political reasons is true (or if there is truly corruption going on and they are somehow being ‘paid off’ by TVB and/or ATV), then pretty much nothing is going to help unless something drastic is done (i.e. all 7 million residents of HK protest in front of government headquarters, which is definitely not going to happen). Plus in the overall scheme of things, HK citizens have more important things to worry about (i.e. social/political issues such housing crisis, low employment and wages, education issues, economy, etc. etc.) – also, with the current political state of HK (Chief Executive CY Leung has gotten nothing but negative press since he took office last year, and rightfully so IMO, since he’s been doing a horrible job of running HK), my hunch is that the free TV license thing is the last of the government’s worries right now (meaning that it’s probably lowest priority on the list of ‘issues’ that the government needs to tackle).

    Anyway, regarding the HKTV’s variety programs – I’m also less interested in those types of specialty programs as well….but in my case, I figured I would watch just as a means of support….I most likely won’t be writing up any thoughts about the program though….

  3. It sucks that Ricky Wong said he won't air episode 2 until they get the license. Lets hope a miracle will happen and they'll get it ASAP! There's really "nothing" to watch in terms of HK dramas. All of them are crappy and only Change of Heart is watchable but very slow paced.