Viewers will win in TV shake-up

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 September, 2015, 1:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 September, 2015, 1:18am

TVB has long enjoyed an unrivalled position as the city's dominant broadcaster. It has, alas, for many years been criticised for its lacklustre and formulaic television programmes. Recently, it finds itself facing tough new competition from the mainland and overseas, as its management is forced to develop new services and offer enhanced quality programmes to stay ahead. This can only be good for Hong Kong's long-suffering TV viewers.

US streaming service giant Netflix has announced it will expand into Hong Kong early next year as it makes inroads into Asia. Mainland behemoth LeTV has also revealed ambitious expansion plans for the city. With viewers of inexpensive pay TV being spoiled for choice, TVB is likely the big loser. Already, its share prices have hit the lowest levels not seen since the start of the global financial crisis. There is nothing as motivating as a life-and-death existential threat.

The TV station is joining hands with the mainland's China Media Capital and Hollywood giant Warner Bros Entertainment in a global film-making partnership that will be headquartered in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, it is expanding its pay contents by opening new online platforms to stream TV programmes and movies.

TVB chief Mark Lee Po-on has already promised subscriptions to the new service will be at "a very inexpensive rate". With costs coming down, the line between free and pay TV will become increasingly blurred.

TVB's Sino-US joint venture could give a much-needed boost to the city's long-struggling film industry while helping to put us back on the world map of film-making. Its well-funded financing will hopefully help to develop new technology and talents.

Hong Kong's movie and TV industries have for a long time suffered from poor quality productions. New competition from the US and the mainland will hopefully help shake them up and raise their game.