Thursday, October 24, 2013

'TVB Family Culture' -- some upcoming changes at TVB


TVB’s chairman Norman Leung just announced that they will be making a lot of changes and instituting what they call “TVB family culture”.  He said he was inspired by veteran actor Liu Kai Chi’s interview (I’m assuming he meant the long, in-depth interview that Uncle Chi did with Mingpao, which was a great interview by the way) and is instituting changes because he wants people who work for TVB to feel proud to work for them – also, he said that if other TV stations (referring to HKTV) can do it (referring to all the things that HKTV has done for its artists), TVB should be able to do it way better.

While on the one hand I’m happy to see TVB finally willing to make changes that will benefit their artists and are putting in the effort to recreate the ‘family’ atmosphere that defined them back in the 70s and 80s (and early 90s to some extent), part of me can’t help but think that these changes are ‘too little, too late’.  With all the ‘damage’ that has already been done, it’s going to be difficult for them to turn things around without a lot of hard effort….plus, right now, it’s all talk – until these changes are put into action and we start seeing the results, I’m not too confident that TVB will be able to pull it off.  

Also, the 15-20 years or so of TVB treating their artists like crap is definitely not going to be easy to reverse....besides, there are other policies that they need to look at as well that had a huge hand in putting them in the rut they’re in today.  With these changes, it's definitely a step in the right direction, but how effective it will be remains to be seen...let’s wait and see though….


Below is the translation of the article that outlines the new plan…

Source:  kuangai TVB’s weibo
(I’ll post the link to the actual article from its original news source later on…)

Yesterday, TVB’s chairman Norman Leung attended the celebration dinner for Triumph in the Skies II.  Of course, the ‘hot topic’ of late has been the free TV license debacle and Ricky Wong’s HKTV.  Despite losing their jobs, all of the HKTV staff have stood by Mr. Wong and supported him, with not a single person blaming him for the situation – to be honest, this is something that we’ve never seen happen at TVB.  In addition, veteran actor Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智) accepted an interview with a magazine earlier in which he detailed very clearly, point by point, why he decided to leave TVB (after close to 30 years of service) – it wasn’t a decision made in haste or out of a fit of anger.  Rather, it was because some of the clauses in TVB’s contracts were too ‘bizarre’ and ‘insulting’ to artists.  At the end of the day, the biggest reason why things eventually got to this point – TVB’s monopoly and the lack of competition to challenge them. The emergence of Ricky Wong gave these television artists new hope and reignited in them the passion and love for their craft that had long since disappeared.  

Now, it seems that even TVB has finally ‘woken up’ and realizes that something has to be done.  At the dinner, Norman Leung went onstage to give his customary speech, during which he expressed that over the weekend, he read the interview that Liu Kai Chi did and that inspired him to immediately institute a few changes:  “Effective immediately, I would like to start cultivating a ‘TVB family culture’.  As part of the management team, my hope is that members of our TVB family will truly feel proud that they are part of our family and that everyone will see our progress.”

Mr. Leung continues:  “This new TVB family culture consists of 4 main things:  first is that our artists need to feel respected; second is that work hours need to be reasonable; third, compensation needs to be reasonable and fair; fourth is that all artists need to be given opportunities to perform.”

“In terms of the work hours, the memo has already been sent out:  work hours will be based on ‘shifts’ going forward.  Each shift will be 10 hours, but can be extended to 11 hours if needed on certain occasions – anything over 11 hours must be approved by the director of production.  For on location filming, the shift can extend up to 12 hours, however anything over 14 hours will require approval from the director of production.  With this change, we hope that artists will be able to get sufficient rest.  At the same time, we already implemented the requirement that all scripts must be 80% complete before filming starts so that the production team can have sufficient time to prepare.  Even though all these changes will cause production overhead to increase, that’s okay because our goal is to make quality series and also create a good working environment for our staff.”

Mr. Leung concluded his speech with the following words of encouragement to his staff:  “If other TV stations are able to do it, TVB will definitely be able to do it too – not only that, we should be able to do it better!  I don’t care whether you’re Mr. Wong, Mr. Lee, Mr. Ma, or Mr. Cow – I’m absolutely certain that we [TVB] are up to the challenge and will absolutely do it better than you!”


  1. I'll believe Mr. Leung's rhetoric when I see actual results.

    And the 4 main things are all subjective and interpretative, and yea, false hopes: 'feel' respect? 'reasonable' work hours, 'reasonable' compensation?, 'need' equitable opportunities?

    4 main things: first is that our artists need to feel respected; second is that work hours need to be reasonable; third, compensation needs to be reasonable and fair; fourth is that all artists need to be given opportunities to perform.”

    1. @tamaya: Yup, agreed -- nowadays with TVB, it's pretty much "I'll believe it when I see it". Talk is cheap, so if TVB really wants us to believe them, they better put Mr. Leung's words into action.

      Also, one of the biggest problems that artists have with TVB are the restrictive contract terms and policies that TVB has -- i.e. the whole show quota policy thing -- if those policies are not looked at and changed, none of the other stuff that they 'claim' they will do will have much impact.

      One thing I will give them credit for is that at least this time around, TVB acknowledged that the changes are coming about because of HKTV and Liu Kai Chi...I was actually quite surprised to hear Mr. Leung say that to be honest, since TVB loves to deny everything. Remember last time with the on the fly/flying paper script thing when TVB implemented the 80% complete script prior to filming policy? That decision obviously stemmed from Sheren Tang's famous 'complaint' about the on the fly scripts during BAW -- yet when they implemented that policy, TVB management vehemently denied that it was due to Sheren or anyone else (they shamelessly 'claimed' that they had already planned on doing it since the beginning of the year).

  2. Hmm...couldnt help but wonder on the "timely" appearance of this announcement. Sounds all talk to me right now.

    1. @fangorn: stated above, definitely all talk right now. You know, now that I think about it, perhaps TVB is trying to pull another PR stunt at the expense of HKTV and Liu kai Chi? I sure hope not (cuz I will be very pissed if that's the case), but now that you point it out, the 'timing' IS a little bit suspect....

      I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on the timing piece, but for the sake of the artists, I hope that Mr. Leung is truly serious about these changes and will implement them very soon. Also -- this is probably the business person in my talking, but I'm actually interested in seeing the 'action plan' for implementing these changes, as some of the changes are a bit on the 'vague' side....I'd be curious to see more detail on what he plans to do to make these proposed changes a reality....