bbTV to suspend local news channel

Pay-TV service will stop airing HKTV content when contract is up in September

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 5:13am

Hong Kong Broadband Network's pay-TV service bbTV will stop airing local news programming in September when its contract with the provider ends.

Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) spokeswoman Jessie Cheng Ching-man said bbTV's contract with HKTV ends on August 31 and the pay-TV service would not be renewing it.

HKTV has been looking for other platforms to broadcast its news programmes, she said.

Pay-TV service bbTV is at present the only broadcaster airing HKTV's news output.

There are about 60 people employed in HKTV's news department, but Cheng said the company had no plan to cut jobs.

"This is something we don't want. It would be considered only if we fail to find another platform for our news, and if our application for a free-to-air TV licence is rejected," Cheng said.

Formerly City Telecom, HKTV, which is headed by Ricky Wong Wai-kay, has been battling to get a terrestrial TV licence for over three years, as have i-Cable and PCCW.

But the government has yet to grant the licence.

Cheng said the end of the station's contract with bbTV had nothing to do with its struggle for a terrestrial licence.

Since May last year, bbTV has paid HKTV about HK$3 million for six months of news content.

In a notice to subscribers yesterday about the local news channel being suspended, bbTV did not give any details about how their fees might change.

It said the move was part of a reorganisation of its channels.

A spokeswoman for bbTV said it had no plan to buy local news programmes from other content providers.

It has about 50 channels and 200,000 subscribers.