Thursday, March 3, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: It's curtains for ATV: Liquidators to shut down ailing broadcaster tomorrow after Hong Kong court decision cleared the way

As a means of follow up to my previous post…

Tomorrow (technically today HK time) marks the end of an era:  ATV will officially be shut down.

FINALLY!  I know this sounds harsh, but honestly, ATV has been on life support for at least a year now (if not more).  Rather than continue to drag out a slow death (and drag all the employees along with it), the best option is to end ATV’s misery once and for all, especially since the station is already beyond salvageable.

At this point, I don’t feel like rehashing all the reasons why ATV got to this state, as I’ve already beaten the horse to death with my information overload on this issue both on my blog and in various forums.  As I’ve said before, I don’t feel sorry for the employees and workers who decided to stay with ATV despite knowing the situation they were in (and especially after ATV failed to pay salaries month after month), as they had the choice to leave but instead decided to stay and continue to be ‘played’ by management.  However, I do sincerely hope that things will look up for them in that they are able to find work now that ATV is officially being shutdown.

Below is an article that came out today from SCMP…no doubt that there will be more information to come in the next couple days as the shutdown of ATV is finalized:

BREAKING NEWS: It's curtains for ATV: Liquidators to shut down ailing broadcaster tomorrow after Hong Kong court decision cleared the way

Source: SCMP

Six decades of Hong Kong television history will come to an end today when court-appointed liquidators finally pull the plug on ATV after its mainland investor failed to come up with the cash to save the dying station.

Following months of uncertainty, turmoil, and litigation, accounting firm Deloitte China said last night the HK$8 million cash injection needed to keep the worlds first Chinese-language TV station alive had not been forthcoming and all remaining staff would be laid off.

Deloitte representatives will be at Asia Television's Tai Po headquarters Friday morning to hand out termination letters and figure out how to shut down transmission.

Derek Lai Kar-yan, Deloitte China's southern region managing partner, was unable to say last night when exactly ATV would be taken off air.

They would have to retain a few technical staff to figure out the details, he said.

But it could be a week without any signal as RTHK, which has been tasked with filling the vacuum, will not be ready with analogue programming until around March 10.

The Communications Authority said it had yet to receive a notification from Deloitte as to when ATV would stop broadcasting  or if broadcasting would resume. It called for details as soon as possible so it could take back the spectrum occupied by ATV.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung expressed regret over ATV's early collapse.

Deloitte noted that the High Court, which allowed a petition from ATV's mainland investor, Si Rongbin, to delay the shutdown earlier this week, would no longer interfere with the liquidator's bid to prevent further liability by dragging out its demise.

Deloitte is acting on behalf of major creditor Wong Ching, ATV's former boss who sold his stake to Si, but wants the station liquidated as the deal was not completed and he is still owed HK$1.8 billion.

Lai said Si, with whom he negotiated the sale of ATV's controlling stake last year, failed to cough up HK$8 million as a guarantee to support the stations operation for this month before its free-to-air licence expires on April 1.

While most ATV employees were said to have walked out already after the station failed to pay them two months' wages, Deloitte estimated there were still more than 400 employees left.

Many of them spoke of feeling sad but also relieved that it was all finally over.

ATV actor Frankie Choi Kwok-wai said: "Enough is enough...but as a veteran it's heartbreaking to witness this TV station has come to such an ugly end."

Choi said he was co-ordinating a meeting with Deloitte to resolve contract issues for artists as their employment terms were different from news department and other staff.

Others appeared confused by all the last-minute drama.

"It has been taking so many twists and turns, and I dont know whom I should really trust," said Man Ming, a 53-year-old security guard who has been with the company for more than 10 years.

Jane He, who represents Si, questioned Deloitte's motives in shutting down the station "so abruptly and violently".

She said they had the money to carry on running the station, but that they did not trust the liquidators with it.


  1. Why would anyone work for a company 1 month let alone 2 months without pay is beyond me. Smart people would've bolted to another company ASAP.

  2. Oh llwy12 did you hear about Stephen Chen's quote reported by Apple Daily? "Today ATV, Tomorrow TVB" lol so true.

  3. Chan has been saying all the right stuff lately. As much as I dislike him, I must admit that he's been giving some good responses. I was shocked when I heard him say in an interview a few days ago that the government definitely should've given HKTV a license. He also gave the best response about TVB’s subtitle debacle. He said that TVB should think back to the reason why subtitles were implemented in the first place (which he of course would have inside knowledge to with his previous position at TVB) and reflect on whether changing to simplified characters makes any sense. He said the intention of the subtitles is to give those audiences who do not understand the spoken language being used a way to still follow what is being said. Native Mandarin speakers won’t need subtitles when watching a newscast in Mandarin, so who would those subtitles be for based on the above logic? The answer is simple: Hong Kongers who either don’t understand Mandarin or have limited understanding of it would more likely read the subtitles….since HK has always used traditional characters and most HK audiences can’t even read simplified characters, what sense does it make to switch the subtitles to simplified characters?

  4. Do you know the outcome of the court case between HKTV and the Government? The government filed an appeal and it was court hearing was last month but I can't seem to find the outcome of it. Or is it still being deliberated by the judges?

    1. @Anonymous: There is no outcome yet. According to an article I found today (in Chinese), the appeal case has been heard in court, but has not been decided yet....not sure when it will be decided, as there wasn't a tremendous amount of detail on it.

      Coincidentally, I also saw information that said the Communications Authority already gave its recommendation to the Executive Council and Chief Executive in January for HKTV's second license application -- however, this of course doesn't mean that the license will be approved, especially since the same thing happened last time and the Chief Executive ended up going against what was recommended.