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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 4:56pm
NewsHong Kong

Consultancy says TV licence decision is unfair and it must speak up

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 5:13am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 6:35am

The consultancy that wrote the report on free-to-air television licences said it did not mind burning its bridges with the government because the decision to reject Hong Kong Television Network's bid was unjust.

"This government didn't do its homework. It changed the rules of the game without consultation. As a Hongkonger, I must speak up," Value Partners Asia managing partner Jenny Ng Pui-ying said.

"I don't mind if I don't get business from the government any more," she said. "When I decided to speak up, I knew I would upset some people and my business might be affected.

"People want our service because we are professional, not because we are 'yes men'."

Ng said the government kept imposing its problematic logic on the consultancy study prepared by her company. And it used the company as a shield against public criticisms.

In multiple attempts to explain the rationale behind its decision, the government cited market sustainability and how introducing more players in one go might cause cut-throat competition, which might lead to the decline of programming quality. Ng said this did not make sense.

"Of [our study's] 400 pages, the government only quoted a few paragraphs [and they were] out of context," she said.

Value Partners submitted a total of four consultancy reports, the last one in February last year - one year and nine months before the decision to grant free-to-air television licences to i-Cable's Fantastic TV and PCCW's Hong Kong Entertainment Network was announced.

"The information was dated. It didn't add anything, including Ricky Wong selling his telecom business [in the summer of 2012 to finance the television operation] and the new drama productions," Ng said.

The study was to look at the competitive landscape of the free-to-air television market, the overall development and the possible impact should new players be introduced, according to the Communications Authority.

"There was never a question of which station was better, because the free television market was to open without a licence cap," Ng said. She said the study would have been done differently if the government was going to pick two out of three applicants.

She said sustainability was never a question either. PCCW's Now TV and i-Cable's Cable TV had each offered one free channel for a long time. "So giving a new licence to HKTV meant that, essentially, only one new player was added," Ng said.

Not giving HKTV a licence, was "unfair to the people of Hong Kong and unfair to advertisers".


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This article is now closed to comments

Ms Jenny Ng Pui-ying appears to be a new comer in the business, having no idea about the value of a consultant to their client who pay out big some of money to them simply for delivering a pile of paper. But I don't think she is, what she is doing is just to play naive in order to distant herself from the controversy. What she has wanted to protect is her own company's business, using a kind of damage control strategy.
Greg says Exco considered many things before arriving at a conclusion. The consultancy report was only one of many factors that they considered. It seems they are now running out of options to defend themselves if the report is not to be used as a shield for them. I am dumbfounded as to how it is possible for a consultancy to speak out against its client. Did they not reach some concensus before Greg used the consultancy report as a shield? Doesnt the government have any smart officials working for them anymore?


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