Saturday, December 21, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Ricky Wong abandons free-TV dream for digital one with HKTV relaunch

Those of you who have continued to follow the whole free TV license thing will probably already know the latest news about HKTV by now...but in case you don't, below is a pretty detailed article on it.  

Personally, I'm thrilled to hear that Ricky Wong found an alternate way of 'launching' his TV station, since it means that the long-awaited series that HKTV already has in their inventory will finally get to see the light of day very soon.  Of course, the best news of all is that Ricky Wong has decided to re-hire all 320 of the HKTV staff that were laid off 2 months ago...not only that, he's also got plans to expand his staff even more by hiring several hundred more people to work for his company (and it's not just actors and actresses, but also behind-the-scenes crew as well).  I'm definitely very happy for those staff who now have a job again and don't have to worry about what their futures (and their families' futures)  are going to look like with no income.  There is indeed HOPE in this world after all!!


Ricky Wong abandons free-TV dream for digital one with HKTV relaunch

Source:  South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Television Network chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay says the company will press ahead with its broadcasting plans, despite the rejection of its bid for a free-to-air licence, by launching TV services that can be viewed through the internet from July 1.

HKTV will begin offering content on three to five channels in the form of what is known as "over-the-top content", similar to that offered by Netflix, Hulu and WhereverTV.

"Hong Kong needs free television," Wong said yesterday. "Free isn't just about free of charge, but also freedom."

Wong also said he would not give up on pursuing a judicial review of the decision to reject HKTV's licence application.

At least one of the channels to be offered from July will be a 24-hour news channel. The content of the rest is yet to be decided, but most will be free, except video-on-demand services.

Wong unveiled his plan following the company's HK$140 million acquisition of China Mobile Hong Kong Corporation, a subsidiary of state-owned China Mobile which holds a unified carrier licence that allows the licensee to offer mobile television services through its broadcast spectrum.

The platform will be free from the rules covering content and advertising now regulating free-to-air television.

The public will be able to watch the programmes through internet-connected devices. Audiences will have to buy a connection device before they can watch the channels through spectrums that are more stable than normal internet connections. Most programmes will be available for free while some will be shown on a paid basis.

Without giving the exact amount invested, he said HK$200 million had been spent on buying a site in Tseung Kwan O and a further several hundred million dollars would be needed for the development of a multimedia production building there. He said that the company was financially sound and had over HK$2 billion in capital.

HKTV plans to recruit the 320 staff who were axed when its application was rejected. All the productions previously suspended will be resumed.

Wong said HKTV will offer 260 hours of drama in the first year. This will be doubled to 520 hours in 2015.

Wong denied the idea for the move had been given by mainland officials at the Liaison Office or by the Hong Kong government. He said the decision was a pure business idea.

When asked if he had any plans to acquire beleaguered station ATV, Wong said he would consider any reasonable business acquisition or merger.

Melanie Lo Ka-wai, chief executive of media agency Group M Hong Kong, said Wong's new plan would interest advertisers because the television saga had generated attention from the public. Compared to ordinary free television, HKTV might reach a younger and more upmarket audience who were willing to try new technologies, she said.


  1. so, can overseas (non-HK) ppl like me watch it online? I dont mind paying for those dramas.

    1. @fangorn: Yup, I agree with sport in that most likely HKTV will make their content available to overseas audiences as well, though right now, it's not clear on how soon.

      As I posted in other forums, it sounds to me like there are 2 services being offered by HKTV: one is the Over The Top (OTT) service, which is available to anyone who is able to get an internet connection (3G/4G and Wifi) while the actual mobile television services via China Mobile requires actual broadcast spectrum, which sounds to me as though that's the service that requires the little adapter device thing. Without too much more information at the moment, it sounds to me like the OTT service is the one that will possibly cater to overseas audiences, though of course that has yet to be confirmed.

  2. Probably not monthly fee but if it's a one time fee for a device most families won't mind paying. Not sure how soon it'd be available overseas but once they start airing I hope people will upload their series online for streaming.

    1. @sport3888: Yup...I'm sure that even if it's a subscription-based thing, there will be people out there (like you and me for example) who are willing to pay some type of fee to watch. Hey, for me especially, it makes sense, since I'm already paying for watching TVB right now due to being overseas -- if I can get better content, of course I won't mind paying.

      As for people uploading their series online for streaming -- well, no doubt that will happen, since it's impossible to prevent it in the technologically advanced world we live in today....though I wouldn't be surprised if HKTV uploads it themselves, since remember that they heavily use Facebook and Youtube....

      I'm sure more information will come out in the next couple months with more details....

  3. totally ecstatic for HKTV!!!!
    really, ricky wong made a great comeback!!!
    i heard that 警戒線 will be the 'opening' drama!!!
    can't wait for that...
    however, july seems so far away right now TT_TT.....

      @huama:  I definitely echo your sentiments!!  I actually was not expecting him to make the type of comeback he did – honestly, any one else would have given up the fight a long time ago.  Now I understand why the people who worked for him trusted him so fully and had such confidence in him….and I also understand more fully what the artists meant when all of them said that they were ‘moved’ by Ricky Wong’s ‘sincerity’ and that was the primary reason why they joined HKTV.
      Yup, looks like the plan is still to make “Borderline” the opening series, just like before – which, of course, is a great idea given the popularity of the first episode and all the good feedback it generated.  I’m personally looking forward to watching that drama myself (especially after that ‘teaser’ they did when they previewed so many scenes from episode 2 during the closing credits for episode 1)!  July 2014 can’t come fast enough

    2. Yes episode 1 for Borderline was so good! It's been a while since me and sister both don't forward anything and watch the entire episode. Also agree about the preview for episode 2, just made me want to watch what happens next! So no boring scenes or parts where I'm bored which happens alot with TVB series.

      This is no doubt an awesome comeback. I feel the support Ricky Wong received from the College lecture he gave also gave him support to not give up! July 2014 seems so far away. Wish they'd start airing sooner but I guess there's alot of preparation involved. Right now for overseas there's this TVPad gadget that many Chinese families use to watch TVB and other Asian shows. Hopefully HKTV's series will also be uploaded when they air. Not sure whether that TVPad box is legal or not though.