Stephen Chan did a special edition of his “On a Clear Day” radio program where he invited the ‘higher ups’ from the main TV players (minus TVB of course) to discuss the HK television industry and also their future plans. He also invited representatives from the HK Advertising Association to get their take on the TV industry from an advertising and sponsorship standpoint. Those invited include: LeTV (now LeEco) CEO Mok Chui Tin, HKTV chairman Ricky Wong, former ATV chairman Ip kar Bo, ViuTV’s CEO Lofai Lo, and HK Advertising Association (aka HK 4As) representative Raymond Ho.
Below is the program in its entirety from Youtube. For those who have been following the free TV license saga and everything else that has been going on in the HK television industry, I absolutely recommend watching this program, as it is VERY informative and there is alot of fascinating stuff that comes out of it. It's quite long (almost 2 hours), but well worth the time!
For those who might not get the chance to watch, I will attempt to do a detailed recap, however just note that the recap is written from my own perspective, so there will obviously be personal opinions and commentary incorporated into it (had to make this clear in case some people get on my case about it).
Also, even though the program itself is one continuous clip without breaking up into parts, my recap will be spread out in multiple blog posts, as there is just way too much information for me to cram everything into one post in one sitting (plus need time to digest everything as well organize my notes). There is no significance to the way I separated out things in terms of part 1, part 2, etc. -- it's pretty much what I had time to organize and type up at the moment (though I will try as much as possible to keep things in chronological order the way they occurred in the program).
On A Clear Day special edition: 電視擂台 在晴朗的一天搶收視
Recap + My Thoughts - part 1
First of all, I wanted to give kudos to CRHK and Stephen Chan, as they did a great job with the program. The questions that the hosts asked were very relevant and some I would even consider 'brave' given the circumstances. And it's obvious that the CRHK team did their homework, as the comments they made showed that they had put alot of work into incorporating alot of the current happenings in the TV industry. Oh and even though I'm not fond of Stephen Chan, I do have to say that watching him host this program reminded me once again what a flamboyant host he truly is (and of course why TVB wanted to get rid of him -- his jab at TVB in the opening segment was so funny, yet at the same time so absolutely true!). I also loved all the 'innuendos' in the program that people who haven't been following the TV industry or HK news in general probably won't understand (like that 'chocolate local egg' gift that they gave Finance Commissioner John Tsang -- I couldn't help chuckling at the symbolism behind that!)
I'm not surprised that petty TVB decided not to participate. It's obvious from Mark Lee's comments in the audio clip they aired that TVB does not support competition. It's actually kind of funny and sad at the same time. I think if you ask 10 out of 10 people, they would say that "with competition comes improvement" -- the only way for a company to continually improve and get better is through competition. However, as we all heard, TVB's stance is: "competition does NOT bring improvement". This shows that all the criticism we've been saying about TVB being complacent and arrogant and not wanting to improve is absolutely on the ball!
Having the representative from the advertising association (Raymond Ho from HK Advertising Association) there was absolutely a smart move, as he was able to clarify alot of things regarding the advertising piece. Plus, we all know that one of the main 'excuses' the government gave for denying HKTV a license is that they felt the HK market cannot support an additional TV station and that there was not enough advertising to go around -- a point that TVB also adamantly supports and has reiterated time and time again (lost count already how many times those TVB execs threw the advertising thing in people's faces). Well, based on what Raymond Ho said, the conclusion that I've come to is that TVB IS LYING!!!! They are trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes since most ordinary folks won't understand the advertising process anyway. As Raymond Ho emphasized (which is the same thing that Ricky Wong has been saying for like the past 4 years), the 'advertising pie' is fairly large and there is enough to 'share' with everyone.
There are a few other points about the advertising piece that I found very interesting:
1) HKTV got 80% support from advertisers back when they were in the running for a license. Raymond Ho explained the workshop and survey process they did, which he said they repeated this year with ViuTV and Netflix coming on board: he said the response was less enthusiastic from advertisers, partly because of the economy, but a big reason too is because those stations weren't as 'high profile' and vocal as Ricky Wong in communicating their programs and such, so with the element of unknown there, some advertisers wanted to take the 'wait and see' approach. The result of the survey was only 60% support from advertisers (still good, but obviously lower than what HKTV got)
2) The part about TVB 'forcing' advertisers to only work exclusively with them by offering better rates and better ad spots was an eye-opener for me -- had no clue that TVB was doing that, though it does make sense given their obsession with monopolizing the industry. Turns out they are 'monopolizing' the advertising too by increasing rates year after year so that they can broker 'deals' with advertisers to only place ads with their station by offering incentive packages and lower rates for doing so.
3) It was obvious from Raymond Ho's comments that many advertisers have had enough of TVB's antics and 'games'. He emphasized that HK4As' stance (which represents the stance of most of HK's advertisers) is that they WELCOME new TV stations and competition to join the industry. Stephen Chan asked him whether that meant they are opposed to having only 1 TV station monopolize the entire industry, to which Raymond Ho responded: "We are strongly opposed to having only 1 TV station". In fact, he revealed that the Advertising Association had sent letters to the Communications Authority in the past and also released official statements expressing that from an advertising standpoint, they would like to see more TV stations join the industry and more variety in programming content for audiences.