Games won't be shown on free TV

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 May, 2012, 12:00am


Hongkongers are unlikely to catch the London Olympic Games on free-to-air channels. Three television stations have failed to agree on broadcast arrangements.

People who do not subscribe to pay-TV provider i-Cable can watch the Games free of charge only online and on their smartphones.

The station has secured the broadcasting rights, but has not won approval for the free-to-air licence it applied for in 2010.

Company chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi said i-Cable could not reach an agreement with TVB or ATV about showing the Games.

He said 'chances were given' to the free stations to air the Games, but i-Cable had 'stopped discussions'.

Both TVB and ATV, however, stressed they were still open to discussions.

Ng urged the government to set a definite timetable for the issuing of three new free-to-air licences.

Penny Wu, a third-year medical student from the University of Hong Kong, thinks it is unfair that Hongkongers can't catch the London Olympic Games on free channels. 'It should be the citizens' right to witness such a world-class event. Watching it on a computer or smartphone is a completely different experience to watching it on TV. The channels should really take the public's interest into account when they are fighting this battle,' she says.

Lau Chun-kit, a Form Six student at Pentecostal School, said: 'I think not showing the Games free is a big let-down to local sports development. [It] will not be to the advantage of promoting sports in Hong Kong.'