Next Media was founded by high profile businessman Jimmy Lai, known for his support for democracy and criticism of China. It introduced tabloid-style journalism into Hong Kong and Taiwan, with the hugely successful Apple Daily. The group made a rare misstep by entering Taiwan’s saturated broadcasting market. In October 2012 it agreed to sell its loss-making Taiwan TV unit and to terminate its video-on-demand (VOD) services, but the deal fell through in March 2013.
Lai sells loss-making Taiwan TV arm Next Media
Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai says he is selling his loss-making television business, noted for its dramatised, animated news.
In a brief letter to employees of his Next Media Group, Lai confessed his “failure” in running Next TV.
Next Media’s Apple Daily newspaper says Next TV and an affiliate will lay off 500 employees in the unit’s sale to Lien Tai-sheng, owner of Taiwan’s Era Television. It says Next TV incurred losses of over US$340 million.
The paper blames the losses on Taiwan’s “complicated” political and commercial environment, noting Lai has run into opposition because of his “consistently uncompromising anti-Beijing stance.”
Taiwan’s freewheeling democracy protects freedom of speech, but many businesses have distinctive pro- or anti-China positions.