City Telecom proposes name change in licence bid
Vivienne Chow and Sophie Yu
City Telecom has proposed to change its name to Hong Kong Television Network Limited in a bid to prove it is a quality free-to-air licence applicant.
CTI also showed highlights of its catalogue of television programmes at an event on Tuesday. Many of its more than 220 artists and 500 member of its production crew attended to campaign for CTI.
The company has already invested HK$87.6 million in programming after it sold its 20-year-old telecom business for HK$5 billion in May to focus on television. Four drama series have been completed and four are in production.
But more than three years since submitting its bid for a licence, alongside rival bids from subsidiaries of PCCW and i-Cable, the government has yet to issue any new free-to-air licences.
On Monday, more than 100 CTI employees attended a town hall meeting with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. They urged him to open up the television market, and lamented the government’s delay in issuing new free-to-air licences.
Some employees accused the government of collusion with TVB and ATV. Leung dismissed the allegation and asked for evidence.
City Telecom Chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay had earlier said that after the government scrapped royalties in mid-2000, TVB has saved HK$2.4 billion – 9 per cent of its HK$26.6 billion advertising revenue from July 2000.
However, TVB defended itself in a full-page advertisement last week saying that it has paid various sorts of fees amounting to HK$650 million since 1998.
The Communications Authority said after the abolition of government royalties, the two domestic free-to-air broadcasters, TVB and ATV, were required to pay licence fees.
The authority said that TVB has paid HK$189.2 million since July 2000, and ATV has paid HK$171.1 million during the same period.