ATV promises HK$2.7 billion investment and new shows in bid to renew licence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 5:10am

Asia Television plans to invest HK$2.7 billion over six years from next year and introduce new programmes - including a late-night adult chat show - as part of efforts to win renewal of its free-to-air licence.

Executive director Ip Ka-po said yesterday shareholders were willing to commit HK$300 million more than in the previous six years when its licence expires in November next year.

Ip said ATV would also launch a series of new programmes in July in response to criticisms that it filled its airtime with repeated reruns and in an effort to win back viewers.

These would include a midnight talk show exploring sex, gender and nightlife to air during the horseracing summer break. Ip said adult-oriented advertisements had been booked to run with the show but would not elaborate.

The Communications Authority said it had received 13 complaints against ATV this year for repeating programmes.

Recently it has been rerunning My Date with a Vampire, a 1998 fantasy drama, in prime time in the hope of winning ratings from TVB's Monkey King, a mainland production that has been criticised for poor quality.

But Ip denied ATV was repeating programmes regularly.

He said talk shows featuring politicians would be launched as well as the adult show.

"We are looking into importing dramas from Thailand, India and Malaysia," he said. "We are also working on the production of a 100-episode musical with theatre director Ko Chi-sum."

ATV's efforts come as both it and its larger rival TVB are bracing for competition from two new free-to-air channels that were granted licences last year.

The authority is also consulting the public on a second application from Hong Kong Television Network which missed out last year. By yesterday, the authority had received more than 1,000 submissions.

HKTV has proposed investing more than HK$3.4 billion over six years.

Ip said ATV might hand in a submission objecting to HKTV's application. "We have never supported the issuing of new free TV licences because the city's advertising revenue isn't enough to support more than two free TV stations," he said.

Former ATV directors Payson Cha Mou-sing and Johnson Cha Mou-daid filed an application to the High Court in April to wind up the station and a hearing is scheduled for June 25. Ip said he hoped the matter could be resolved out of court before then.