Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB, 00511.HK) expects mainland media tycoon Li Ruigang to put in more efforts and resources into Hong Kong’s top terrestrial television broadcaster after his recent investment in the station.
TVB hopes that Li can help the Hong Kong broadcaster expand into mainland China and elsewhere, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Thursday.
Citing TVB’s chief executive Lee Po-on, the report also flagged expectations that Li, with his wide contacts and experience in the mainland, could prompt Chinese authorities into easing the curbs on foreign filmed content.
Li, chairman of China Media Capital (CMC), which is a unit of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, had recently bought a stake in Young Lion Holdings Ltd., the controlling shareholder of TVB.
CMC had previously established Television Broadcasts China (TVBC) with TVB in 2012.
Young Lion was co-founded by Charles Chan Kwok-keung, Taiwan HTC chairwoman Cher Wang and private-equity firm Providence Equity in 2011. It acquired a controlling stake in TVB from Shaw Brothers Studio, and Chan is now TVB’s chairman.
Lee, meanwhile, refuted criticism over the investment commitment that TVB outlined after it won a 12-year license renewal for its free-to-air TV services.
The figure outlined is a minimum planned investment based on a cautious perspective, keeping in mind the uncertainties surrounding the industry’s prospects amid rising competition, Lee said.
TVB has vowed to invest HK$6.34 billion from 2016 to 2021, the same as in the six years through 2015 in nominal terms but a contraction in real terms taking into consideration inflation factors.
The TV station is planning to apply for the frequency that Asia Television Ltd. (ATV) is currently using, hoping to gain control of the spectrum that incoming competitors are also eyeing.
It is now renting some of ATV’s frequency for its high-definition channels, but the lease contract will expire by the end of November.
ATV will go off air by the middle of next year after the government recently rejected a fresh broadcast license to the financially troubled station.
Translation by Vey Wong
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