TVB receives 10,000 complaints over programme on HKTV

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 9:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 9:43pm

Television Broadcasts Limited has attracted 10,000 complaints after it echoed the government’s views during a prime-time programme on why HKTV's free-to-air licence application was rejected.

The Office of Communications Authority received some 10,000 e-mail complaints as of Wednesday noon against the Tuesday episode of TVB’s Scoop programme.

The office said the complainants accused TVB of presenting inaccurate information and being biased against Hong Kong Television Network to support the government’s decision not to grant it the licence.

The 30-minute Scoop is aired in Cantonese on the Jade channel at 7.30pm from Monday to Friday and usually covers entertainment and celebrity news.

But this Tuesday’s episode was turned into a special programme with the goal of analysing the ongoing controversy over the government’s decisions on new free-to-air TV licences, one day ahead of a Legislative Council vote on a key motion relating to the issue.

In the programme, the narrator said HKTV would have difficulties filling the annual 4,000 hours of air time required on each of its planned 12 to 30 channels as it had so far only produced approximately 1,000 hours of programmes.

“According to these figures, it would be very hard for HKTV to fill one channel’s air time,” the narrator said. “If there were 12 to 30 channels, the amount of programme content and investment required will be much higher,” she said.

In contrast, the narrator said the two other companies would find it easier going as they had larger production capacities. iCable produced approximately 18,400 hours of programmes annually for its existing pay TV channel, while PCCW had an annual output of 8,500 hours for its channel.

iCable’s Fantastic TV and PCCW’s Hong Kong Television Entertainment both had their application for a free-to-air licence approved by the government,

The narrator also echoed the government's view that new free-to-air TV operators should be introduced into the market in a “gradually and orderly” manner, saying TV advertising revenues were limited and could not sustain too many new operators.

At the end of the programme, the host noted that the free-to-air TV licence issue had stirred up a storm in the city, with some people instigating online campaigns to boycott existing TV channels and surround lawmakers when they vote on the issue.