HONGKONG may be facing its biggest broadcasting challenge ever, but down at TV City, it is business as usual. Talk to movie mogul and Television Broadcasts (TVB) executive chairman, philanthropist and Hongkong adviser to Beijing, Sir Run Run Shaw, 85, and the message that comes across loud and clear is: do not adjust your sets. Presiding over his businesses behind the half-Hollywood, half-Hansel-and-Gretel facade of Shaw House, Sir Run Run's amazing art deco mansion, the doyen of the region's show business industry only smiles indulgently at the mention of the names of his potential competitors. No, there was absolutely no threat to the TVB broadcasting giant from either STAR TV or the proposed Wharf Cable television network expected to be granted its licence next month, or any other company with its eye on the sky. ''Microwave, cable, satellite . . . what's most important is the programmes,'' he said. ''And that's what we are good at.'' And with an air of dismissiveness that would make STAR TV boss Mr Richard Li's face as red with rage as his braces, he said: ''Right now the impact [of STAR TV] has been minimal. In fact, it has had no impact on our ratings because, again, it's a question of programmes. We feel we produce the best.'' But for all the bravado, even Sir Run Run, the man most identified with all the brassy pizazz that is Hongkong film and television production, confessed he was considering secret concessions to the age of space communication. He said there might be plans afoot for TVB to set up its own satellite service within five years. ''As our markets grow internationally, there may come a time when we would need to send our signal closer to our other markets overseas, such as in the region: Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia,'' he said. ''Most countries in the world would have an interest in TVB's programmes. Our programmes are sold all over the world.'' He said while the local market continued to provide the bulk of TVB's income, he hoped that with the expansion of the company's production facilities the contribution of the overseas market would grow. ''There's no definite time frame here,'' he said. ''The primary purpose would be the delivery of our programmes to our customers worldwide unlike, say, STAR which is really just delivering programmes produced by others.'' He insisted nothing could shake TVB's standing as the major player in Hongkong, the world's biggest purveyor of home-produced programmes, churning out 12 hours of original programming a day, 4,000 hours a year and the winner of the greatest share of theterritory's lucrative advertising pie. There were no fears advertising revenue would be eroded or that there would be any loss of revenue resulting in a reduction in programme quality. ''No, we don't see that,'' he said. ''It's a chicken and egg situation. We are confident that we will continue to produce the best programmes for our markets worldwide.'' Yet probe a little deeper and TVB's executive chairman is bothered by the changing television landscape in Hongkong, a place where the domestic penetration of television is probably unsurpassed. Firstly, he backs up his station's line on the ''unfairness'' of the present situation for broadcasters in Hongkong. Despite the selling of TVB material overseas, Hongkong remains the primary market, while the new players have a regional audience. The Hongkong Government's recent decision to lower the percentage of royalty payments charged from ATV and TVB to 10 per cent from 12 per cent has done little to assuage the situation. ''We have always wanted a level playing field for all broadcasters, satellite and cable,'' Sir Run Run said. ''We are not satisfied with the reduction because we think satellite and cable have an unfair advantage over broadcasters. It should be equal. Itshould be fair and reasonable by all parties. ''Equal royalties would be the most fair and that would allow us to compete in a fairer environment, which is not being offered by the Government.'' TVB is also keeping a close eye on China. The station has joint-venture projects with television stations on the mainland, notably in Guangzhou and Shanghai. Last year, TVB transmitted the Olympics to China and should Beijing win the rights to stage the games in the year 2000, the company will have a role to play. ''We are taking many steps to ensure our position,'' he said. ''For instance, in order to attract new talent we set up a training school in Guangzhou. ''These are tentative steps in that we are not in any way dependent on the Chinese market but we will be ready if and when it opens.'' CAPITALISING on the immense pool of untapped talent in China is just an extension of TVB's policy in Hongkong, where it is unique in cultivating - and to some extent controlling - people in the television and film industry. ''And cable too,'' Sir Run Run said. ''Look at the personnel that cable has recruited and I'm sure you'll find most of them - technicians and the experts - were previously at TVB.'' Sir Run Run said cable's impact would be minimal because the two types of television were so different. TVB's two channels offer broad-based entertainment, while Wharf would cater to niche markets with its 12 channels. However, original Cantonese programming must be considered a threat. ''Well, they can try but I would think they'd offer more foreign programmes dubbed and subtitled,'' he said. ''Chinese audiences want Chinese programmes, programmes they can relate to. It is a homogenous place. ''Whether they will be able to produce the same kind of quality is the question,'' Sir Run Run said. The emphasis should be on offering something different, a choice, he said. ''There is no point in competing. To be directly competitive in so far as type of programme is concerned does not make good commercial sense. ''It's going to take a lot to turn them off TVB but there may be room for choice and Hongkong is affluent enough to be able to afford this choice. That's why cable television must be subscription-driven rather than advertising-driven.'' Yet for all the scrambling for position, Hongkong's politically uncertain future looms large for companies in the territory. According to industry experts such as Mr Clay Conrad, of Millisat, a former cable bidder, Hongkong has already missed out on becoming the ''broadcast beacon of Asia'' for the West's recession-hit television industry because the Government has taken seven years to issue a cable licence, when Singapore only took one year. Could Singapore take over from Hongkong as Asia's entertainment capital? ''Singapore cannot, for one simple reason: it doesn't have the dirt and grime Hongkong has,'' he said. ''The colour, the passion.'' Sir Run Run said there would be ''changes'' in the future but insisted the nature of Chinese people was to adapt and survive. ''Will the Chinese Government interfere with the media in Hongkong? We hope not,'' he said, preferring to see 1997 as the opening up of a huge market rather than as a potential source of censorship over the industry. ''We have been promised that this is not going to happen . . . because there's so much that TVB can do for China - like uplifting its standards of production and their technical knowledge. ''We are bound to have some changes. I'm a good businessman but I am no good in politics.'' While Sir Run Run exudes confidence in TVB's continued dominance of Hongkong's television scene, the parallel with his original business cannot be lost on the man who introduced cinema to the region in 1927 and then proceeded to move to Hongkong to develop and dominate the territory's infant entertainment industry. ''[Shaw studios] was like the Hollywood of the 1930s,'' he explained. ''[We] controlled everything, the talent, the production, the distribution and the exhibition. And then the independents came in.'' In the last few years Sir Run Run's studio has seen production drop from 44 films a year to six. But he is indifferent to the industry's newcomers. ''You must appreciate the position of TVB,'' he said. ''It's truly a part of Hongkong people's lives. ''A couple of hundred dollars is not a lot of money to a Hongkong family but that doesn't mean [cable] is going to take away viewers from TVB. ''The cannibalisation of TVB viewers will be minimal.''