TVB boycott planned in protest of broadcaster's 'hegemony'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 11:23am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 4:12pm

All eyes will be on the ratings of TVB’s 46th anniversary variety show on Tuesday evening as an indicator of how disgruntled Hongkongers are with what has been described as the broadcaster’s “hegemony” over the local free-to-air television market.

A Facebook page has been set up urging viewers in the 800 households in which TV meters have been installed to boycott show screened by the city’s leading broadcaster. The page has so far received almost 30,000 “likes” from web users.

A research company responsible for measuring TV ratings selected the 800 households as being representative of the city’s entire population and from whom viewership is measured.

The households have been asked to take a picture of the metering device and send it to the social networking page as proof of their support. The Facebook page has yet to announce how many of the 800 households have joined the boycott.

The Facebook page administrator earlier said there were rumours that some of the 800 households had been asked by the research company whether they had disclosed to media whether they were among the monitored households and were also told not to be influenced by others in doing anything that may manipulate the ratings.

In a reply to a Post inquiry, TVB declined to comment on the boycott of its anniversary variety show.

An audience member with the pseudonym “Ah Ming” is one of the members of the 800 monitored households. He allowed pictures to be taken of the TV meter at his home during an interview with the Apple Daily.

He said he would take his parents, whose only source of evening entertainment comes from watching a TVB drama series, out for dinner on Tuesday so that they would not be bored at home.

Many Facebook users said they hoped to see TVB actor Nat Chan Pak-cheung, who repeatedly defended TVB’s “hegemony” as “justified” and pledged to make his journey home from the studio by walking on his knees if the show achieved only three ratings points, and then later threatened he would die, keep his promise.

TVB last week agreed to donate HK$3 million to charity, following Chan’s suggestion, if the ratings of the show topped 30 points, pledging an extra HK$100,000 for each point thereafter – but promised no donation if they did not achieve 30 points.

Each point represents 64,200 viewers, so a rating of 30 means an audience of more than 1.9 million people.