Phoenix TV is applying for a Hong Kong digital terrestrial television license.
The 20-year-old Hong Kong-based Mandarin-Cantonese broadcaster will undergo a corporate restructuring if its application is approved by the Communications Authority (CA), the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Phoenix TV is led by chairman and chief executive Liu Changle, a former senior officer in the People’s Liberation Army.
Its application is being closely watched, coming after failed attempts by Ricky Wong’s Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (HKTV, 01137.HK) and Forever Top (Asia), headed by tycoon David Chiu, second son of Asia Television Ltd. (ATV) founder Deacon Chiu.
Ricky Wong lost in the recent Legislative Council elections after running on a platform to oust Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, whose government he blames for unfair treatment.
The move by Phoenix comes after it widened its loss to HK$36.25 million (US$4.67 million) in the first half, sparking speculation it wants a free-to-air license not to make money but to deepen its public influence.
A CA spokesman said the authority is reviewing the Phoenix TV application and a public consultation will be held before it is submitted to the Chief Executive’s Office and the Executive Council.
Phoenix TV did not respond to HKEJ inquiries about its operating plans, saying these are confidential.
Three broadcasters have free-to-air licenses — TVB, ViuTV under PCCW and Fantastic TV under Cable TV Hong Kong.
Phoenix TV, HKTV and Forever Top (Asia) might have to compete for the fourth and last license after Leung said there is no room for five free TV broadcasters.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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