19 January 2019
HKTV chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay expects his programs to attract 500,000 to 700,000 viewers. Photo: HKEJ
HKTV chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay expects his programs to attract 500,000 to 700,000 viewers. Photo: HKEJ

HKTV to launch free TV programs next month

After suffering a series of setbacks, Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (HKTV) (01137.HK) will finally start airing free television programs with an over-the-top platform next month.

By mid-November, the public can watch programs via terminals that can be connected to the internet, such as a smartphone or a Xiaomi TV box, chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay told Apple Daily. Many Japanese and Korean smart TV brands will also be preloaded with the HKTV app to allow the TV set owners to watch the programs. 

HKTV will air two hours of drama, 30 minutes of variety shows and four hours of overseas drama every day at the initial stage, Wong said. It also plans to launch an online shopping channel.

He said the plan is to air less than 10 hours of TV content every day, and drama shows will be broadcast as early as 6 a.m. to break people’s habit of watching them at night.

The target audience is between 18 and 45 years old, Wong said, adding that he hopes people can watch the drama shows while they are working.

HKTV’s application for a free-to-air license was rejected by the government last October, and its mobile plan has been delayed because of a dispute over transmission standards.

The company has started marketing its TV programs to hundreds of advertisers last month, with rates comparable with those of industry leader Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB) (00511.HK).

Advertising fees for Police Boundaries, a police drama series, cost HK$588,000 (US$75,804) for every 15 seconds without any discount.

Fees for the most expensive drama series cost HK$738,000 for every 15 seconds, while rates for a comparable show on TVB cost more than a million dollars for every 30 seconds at peak time slots.

KK Tsang, a veteran in the advertising industry, said HKTV advertising fees appear expensive, but the most important thing is the viewership. If a lot of people watch the programs, then the rates are reasonable, he added.

Wong said he expects HKTV to have a viewing rate of 8 to 10 points, which represent 500,000 to 700,000 viewers.

Tsang said that he is not certain about the viewing rate, but many clients are willing to spend money to try out the programs as HKTV has spent more than a year to prepare for the launch and the quality of the programs is good.

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