Monday, October 6, 2014

News Article: HKTV to launch mobile television service next month

**Hot off the press**

HKTV's Ricky Wong made the announcement today that he will be launching his television next month (November).  Though Ricky Wong refused to confirm the actual launch date, some Media outlets are speculating that he is going to launch very close to TVB's anniversary date of 11/19 (makes sense, but we will have to wait and see how true this is).

The below article was a quick news flash that SCMP published earlier today (technically yesterday, since HK is one day ahead).  Since the article is very brief, here are a few tidbits that I pulled from other news sources that had more details about the upcoming launch.

Schedule-wise, HKTV plans on broadcasting 2 hours of drama series a day, plus 1/2 hour variety program and 4 hours of "outside" series (i.e. series bought from other countries) -- this is where the 6.5 hours mentioned in the article comes from.

Also, at the end of October, HKTV is planning to hold a poll on the web so that netizens can cast votes for which series they most want to watch....the series that gets the most votes will be the "debut" series for the station in November.

Personally, I'm very excited about HKTV finally launching.  Of course, I feel that the "limited to HK region only" part is stupid (especially since HKTV and Ricky Wong got so much support from overseas audiences -- such as myself for instance -- during the whole licensing debacle).  But regardless, I'm still happy for them and look forward to watching their series.

I'm sure more information will come out in the next month or so (between now and the launch date), so stay tuned.....

******

HKTV to launch mobile television service next month


Article originally published October 6, 2014


Shares of Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) surged as much as 25 per cent in morning trading in Hong Kong on Monday, boosted by news that its mobile television service will be launched in the middle of next month.

It closed the day at HK$2.81, up 17.6 per cent, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 1.1 per cent.

HKTV boss Ricky Wong Wai-kay said television programmes would reach the audience through the internet on computers, smartphones and on television sets if the users attached an extra set-top box.

HKTV’s advertising prices would be close to those of the free-to-air television stations operated by TVB, he said.

Wong estimated the size of the audience for the mobile television service, only available in Hong Kong, would be at least 500,000.

HKTV will provide 6.5 hours of programming a day at first, with users allowed to watch them free if they register their age, gender, email address and income level with the broadcaster.

The company applied for a free-to-air television licence at the end of 2009 but the application was turned down last year. Since then Wong has been focusing on launching mobile and internet television. He had earlier hoped to launch the service in July.

23 comments:

  1. you could probably still watch their content with an add-on like Hola to your internet browser.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Anonymous: Not too familiar with those add-ons, but for me it won't be a problem watching, since I have VPN (pretty much the same way I watch my TV right now). But regardless, I still think not including overseas audiences is BS....

      Delete
  2. he's not including overseas audience because there's money to be made in selling exclusive rights to programming to other countries. you risk alienating potential partners in channels, other content providers like Hulu/Netflix and cable/sat providers overseas if you launch a OTT network worldwide. that's money you can't recoup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand Ricky Wong’s reasoning…but since he’s been going against TVB all this time and doing everything opposite of them (i.e.: the 100% complete scripts prior to filming, real location filming, catered 3-course meals, 8-12 hour workdays with sufficient time for rest, etc.), part of me was thinking that he would continue that mentality here too and open up to overseas audiences right from the start (most of TVB’s stuff is still HK region only, with the exception of their recent collaboration with Youku and Tudou to distribute in Mainland China as well…though I guess one could argue that HK belongs to China, so technically that’s not “overseas” audiences).  I guess not…but oh well – not really a dealbreaker in my opinion (especially since I’m still able to watch)….I feel sorry for other overseas audiences though who may not have the means to watch….

      Delete
    2. It's still possible that he'll launch HKTV overseas if he doesn't get what he's looking for in terms of rights' fees...he just has to find advertisers overseas that are willing to pay the money he wants. But it is far more lucrative (and probably easier) to sell rights for individual shows than it is to run a OTT network. The last OTT network that launched (the WWE network) ended up costing the company $50 million and they ran on a ad-free, paid subscription membership...if Ricky is doing this with minimal advertiser revenue, he is really going to need some additional revenue and that's why selling his series overseas is important.

      Delete
    3. @Anonymous: Good points. And I do agree with you that Ricky Wong will likely launch to overseas audiences very soon, as I doubt he is going to get what he wants in the HK market. To be honest with you, I was kind of surprised about the “HK region” only thing because there was earlier news that Ricky Wong had secured overseas buyers for his programs and would likely launch his station overseas first before doing it in HK (due to all the roadblocks he faces in HK). So to me, this is completely opposite from what was earlier reported. It could be that he thought about it and from a financial standpoint (i.e. advertising costs and such), it was more feasible to focus only on HK region, at least in the beginning.

      To me, it makes more sense for him to get a strong foothold in overseas market first (focusing of course on the Cantonese-speaking communities overseas, which there are plenty of outside of HK such as in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, U.S., etc.) – especially since his programs are geared more toward a younger, more diverse, modern audiences. Plus the overseas audiences are more likely to accept his series compared to the more conservative and traditionally older “housewife” audience pool in HK (I can just see the HK audiences “complaining” about HKTV’s series being too ‘realistic’ and causing audiences to feel ‘uneasy’…lol) – besides, he DID model his series, filming methods, and business practices after the West (specifically Hollywood), so us overseas audiences probably won’t be shocked by any of the content in his programs, since we’re used to it already with the programs in our countries. Then later, he can try the HK market again and if it doesn’t work out, at least he has the overseas market to fall back on.

      Of course, this is purely my opinion…Ricky Wong can do whatever he wants, since it’s his money and his TV station after all…. 

      Delete
    4. I agree that the overseas market is important. There are a lot of young people in North America are hooked on K-Dramas but simply gave up on TVB. Those are the type of people he needs to attract.

      I'm excited by what type of dramas he'll film in the future. I didn't really like Police Boundaries. I felt the turn for Lam Ka Wah's character was revealed way too early. But it followed the 4 act structure that US dramas employ, so I'm encouraged that they're trying something different. I really hope they go the mature route and film dramas in the vein of Hannibal, Breaking Bad, etc. I just watched Line Walker (it was the first TVB drama I finished this year) and that might've been the worst TV show I've seen this year.

      Delete

    5. @Anonymous: I’m also excited for HKTV’s dramas, both ones that have already filmed as well as upcoming ones. I think one big thing that HKTV has going for them in terms of dramas is “variety” – amongst the 20 or so dramas that they currently have in their inventory (the ones they filmed themselves, not bought from other countries), there is more variety there than TVB has been able to muster up in their series within the past decade! There is literally “something for everyone” in HKTV’s current inventory of series, which is something I don’t think most people realize.

      HKTV doesn’t seem to shy away from controversy and they are definitely not as “conservative” as TVB is, so I have a feeling that their future series will be more daring and mature – as it is, some of their current series have some “graphic” scenes in them that would probably give the uber-conservative HK housewife audiences heart attacks! (which of course is all the more reason to cater to overseas audiences instead of the forever traditional “difficult to change” HK television audieces)…

      Delete
    6. llwy12: any idea if Ricky Wong is still going forward with his e-commerce venture/shopping channel? would that be a separate channel from the OTT network he might be launching in the next month?

      Delete
    7. interesting article about the direction Ricky is taking his e-commerce business towards: http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Consumers/Hong-Kong-s-HKTV-adds-drama-to-online-shopping-and-vice-versa

      Delete
    8. @Anonymous: Thanks for the link to the article. Definitely very interesting indeed. However, I'm actually not surprised because Ricky Wong is known for being a shrewd businessman who has the ability to take the most hopeless, worst possible scenario and turn it around into a positive, money-making opportunity (reading about his rise in the business world and how he built his multi-million dollar telecom company out of almost nothing is quite fascinating). And he's very persistent too -- kind of like a cat with 9 lives who keeps coming back again and again no matter how many times people try to knock him down.

      For me, this article also answers (well, somewhat) the question I've had in my mind since his announcement -- after his original mobile launch a few months ago was shot down by the government (the argument over the transmission method and the number of audiences HKTV would reach due to it being used as the reason why he could not launch his mobile network and might even be thrown in jail was actually quite ridiculous), I was wondering how he was going to rebound. I had read about his e-commerce thing, but at the time, didn't think it would have anything to do with HKTV's programs. Well, now I'm thinking that this is his way of "legitimizing" the airing of his series the original way he had intended (via set top boxes, mobile apps, internet, etc.) -- maybe tying it into e-commerce gives him certain privileges that he didn't have before or something (or perhaps it's just his way of making money to sustain his company, since advertising market is unstable...).

      Either way, I hope HKTV is successful and everything works out for RW.

      Delete
  3. so can i err download from somewere? -__- I want to watch... and can teach me how to do this VPN thingy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @fangorn:  Sure!  I’d be happy to show you the VPN thing (it took me awhile, but I found one for HK and it works quite nicely).  However, let’s wait until closer to the launch date – because remember what happened last time Ricky Wong announced that HKTV was launching….the government interfered and pretty much shot him down.  Not saying that will happen here, but it’s hard to say (govt might not have taken any action yet because they are pre-occupied with the recent protests)….

      Delete
    2. Me too I've never used VPN not even sure what that is. I just know alot of mainland people use it to go on sites that are blocked in China including Facebook. Lets hope the Hk gov doesn't mess with HKTV when they do have "time" to deal with other things.

      Delete
    3. @sport3888: VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and what it essentially does is allow you to access content via internet connection in a remote location (remote meaning you're not physically there) while maintaining a high level of privacy (since there is an encryption and decryption process involved and you need logins/passwords to access). It is perfectly legal and legitimate to use -- in fact, alot of business and organizations use VPN to give their employees access to the company's network when they're not physically there.

      With all that said however -- just like everything else out there in terms of technology, when VPN is abused and used in a manner that is not legit, there could be an issue in terms of legality, though to be honest, it has largely been a grey area.

      In terms of using VPN for media-related stuff (i.e. watching programs in other countries for instance), my understanding from speaking with legal professionals is that some of the laws are similar to those that govern file sharing -- meaning that if you're accessing a website that doesn't own the copyright to the program nor the rights to distribute, then it's illegal. But if you're using a VPN to watch a show that's on the copyright owner's own website, it's fine as long as the site doesn't have any specific terms or conditions that indicate it is not allowed (plus VPNs aren't foolproof anyway -- some media companies go to great lengths to restrict their content to their own geographical regions, so if the one you're trying to access happens to be one of those companies, then you're out of luck).

      The piece you mentioned about the mainland people using it in China to access blocked sites -- well, that's obviously a whole different issue altogether in terms of legality and such, since that country's laws are obviously different.

      Delete
  4. Someone found HKTV's programming schedule via HKTV's cms server: http://cms.hktv.com.hk/cms/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BookingStatus.pdf

    Tentative launch will be during week of Nov 16th. Looks like you're right llwy12. Ricky might've gotten around content airing laws by making his company a e-retailer. I'm surprised that they're airing that Angelica Lee series first. I heard about it in the summer but apparently they didn't even start filming then...interesting that they're doing what people in the States are doing and filming while the show is still on air.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Anonymous: I actually saw a similar schedule in a news report somewhere last week (I remember one of the news reports showing an excerpt of that schedule).

      To be honest, I'm not too surprised that they're airing that Angelica Lee series first -- though technically speaking it's being aired at the same time as Borderline (it's part of the 2 hours of HKTV produced series that they are airing each day). Angelica's series was filmed way later (not sure if they wrapped filming yet...I want to say they already finished, but not 100% sure), but since she's one of the bigger stars that they were able to get plus recently being in the news with her husband's scandal and such, it makes sense that HKTV would seize the opportunity to get her series out there first.

      In terms of the variety programs that they're airing -- I'm actually looking forward to The Challenge, as I heard some good things about it. I think that's the one with Eric Tsang's son Derek Tsang and also Rain Lau taking on some daring challenges such as visiting some remote caves and deserts to test their endurance (something to that effect -- they released pictures from their filming on Weibo last year). Oh and that "Gone with the Wind" program -- I'm wondering of that's Wong Hei's chasing tornadoes program that he filmed for HKTV....

      Delete
    2. @Anonymous: By the way, I'm going to re-post the article about the e-commerce thing on Asianfanatics, as I'm sure others had the same question you did about whether HKTV was going to continue with the shopping channel that it had announced earlier. This article will definitely clear up some confusion.

      Thanks again for the article. :-)

      Delete
    3. Wasn't the Chinese title of that 'Gone with the Wind' show supposed to be for that documentary series they were producing about the Tohoku earthquake and about the Vietnamese nobel prize winner?

      Delete
    4. @Anonymous: Hmmm...you might be right. I just checked Wong Hei's weibo and the Chinese name of the program is different (though there is also the word "wind" in it, which is probably why I thought it was that program)....of course, it's possible that the name got changed too, since some of the names for their series got changed...I guess we'll have to wait and see...

      Delete
    5. Looks like HKTV has already started selling their programs overseas. Fairchild in Canada just announced they'll be airing the Sandra Ng documentary/fundraiser for children with vision problems on November 19th.

      Delete
  5. @Anonymous: Hmmm....I'm a little confused actually....I don't recall Sandra Ng filming any documentary for HKTV. I've heard about her doing a fundraiser program thing for children with vision problems, but from what I understand that's not exclusive to any station. Where'd you get the information that it's an HKTV program?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember seeing the clips from that in the HKTV programme presentation two years ago so I assumed they produced it.

    ReplyDelete