A consortium led by the founding family of Hong Kong’s oldest television station will invest HK$4.1 billion (US$528.9 million) in the early years of a planned terrestrial broadcaster.
Tycoon David Chiu, the second son of Asia Television Ltd. (ATV) founder Deacon Chiu, said the money will ensure sufficient funding for New Asia Television in its first six years of operation.
Chiu heads the consortium, Forever Top (Asia), with a 42 percent stake.
Hony Capital, a private equity firm controlled by China’s Legend Holdings, holds 28 percent. Other investors include Li Sze-lim, chairman of R&F Properties, and Pansy Ho, managing director of Shun Tak Holdings.
The Communications Authority received the group’s license application on April 15. A public consultation began Friday and will last until Oct. 2
The station will feature three channels.
New Asia Network will show Cantonese drama, news, reality shows and programs for children and the elderly. New Asia International will broadcast English shows.
A third channel, New Asia Sports, will replace the originally planned 24-hour news program.
Chiu, who sits on China’s highest political advisory body, said the new station will have a neutral stance but refrain from confronting Beijing, according to Ming Pao Daily.
He expects the venture to to break even in three years but the long-term goal is to broadcast from Guangzhou.
Chiu said his venture will have more financial muscle than HKTV, the planned free-to-air station of Ricky Wong which is seeking a broadcast license.
Lawmaker Charles Peter Mok, who represents the information technology sector, criticized Chiu’s announcement to expand into the mainland before the station is launched, saying it shows he is not that committed to the Hong Kong market.
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