HKTV crashes with popularity on launch day

Hundreds of thousands overload servers as internet traffic hits new peak

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 November, 2014, 3:10am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 November, 2014, 7:10pm

More than 640,000 viewers tuned in to HKTV programmes on its inaugural day on Wednesday, crashing the internet television channel's server and sending 300,000 viewers to other websites carrying its feed illegally.

Data from Hong Kong Internet eXchange showed that internet traffic reached a new peak for the year from 8pm to 10pm on Wednesday - surpassing the level from the soccer World Cup and the height of the Occupy protests.

HKTV said that its server could host a maximum of 400,000 concurrent viewers, and its server was overloaded on Wednesday night.

But the figures did not beat dominant free-to-air broadcaster TVB, which claimed its online streams had 1.57 million total views on Wednesday.

TVB said that 1.6 million television viewers and 129,401 online viewers tuned in to its anniversary gala, which was also held on Wednesday night.

HKTV said that more than a million people had downloaded its app - some 723,000 via mobile devices, and 340,000 via smart televisions and set-top boxes.

Episodes of crime thriller Borderline and political drama The Election were available on demand from 6am on Wednesday, and the streaming went live on Wednesday night at 8pm.

People who could not log in turned to other websites for the HKTV live broadcast. One of them, Ustream, recorded more than 300,000 users.

Social media was flooded with messages saying people could not access HKTV's website after the streaming started at 8pm.

HKTV apologised for the technical problems and said its technical team has been fixing the issues, but it condemned the illegal feeds on other sites.

"HKTV understands that it was out of kindness and support, but it was copyright infringement that will impair the benefits of overseas buyers and HKTV's advertising income," HKTV said in a statement.

TVB said it recorded 25 rating points for its anniversary gala. Based on the survey conducted through a sample of 800 viewers, with one point being an equivalent to 64,800 viewers, TVB estimated that it had around 1.62 million people watching.

However, the audience was 240,000 lower than last year's anniversary gala. TVB said ratings were normally two to three points lower on Wednesday due to competition from racing.