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ATV - Asia Television Limited

Countdown to final ATV show begins as former stars share feelings on station’s demise

ATV will stop broadcasting at 11.59pm on Friday when its free-to-air television licence expires

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 9:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 9:47pm

The countdown to ATV’s last broadcast has begun with some of the television station’s most celebrated faces declaring it is time to move on and let the beleaguered broadcaster become history.

“Let it be history and a part of our collective memory that Hong Kong people can treasure,” veteran ATV actor Lawrence Lau Shek-yin said on Thursday ahead of the broadcaster’s final day on the air. He is still owed three months’ wages by the firm.

ATV will stop broadcasting at the 59th second at 11.59pm on Friday when its free-to-air television licence expires.

But instead of staging a show to bid farewell to the 59-year-old station, ATV will only rerun two Miss Asia Pageant programmes in its final hours.

Grace Cheung Ka-ying, champion of the Miss Asia Pageant in 2007 who did not renew her contract with ATV after it expired in January, said she planned to catch the station’s final hours together with other ex-employees of the company.

Battle for Hong Kong viewers heats up as ATV fades from the screen

“I have love and hate feelings towards ATV,” said Cheung, who spent eight years there. “I will miss ATV – it was my first job after graduating from school. But the station had no productions to offer their audience. Perhaps it’s time to clear out the old to make way for the new.”

Speaking before a promotional event at the Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po on Thursday for his new book recollecting his time at ATV, former boss Ip Ka-po said the cause of its demise was “complicated”.

“I think the biggest key may be that industry outsiders intervened in our professional organisation too much,” he said.

“Also, ATV shareholders had many conflicts among themselves. This created a bad image which caused many of our advertisers and audience to abandon us.”

Describing his feelings as very sad, Ip said: “Often, an end signals a new start ... I hope ATV will have a bright new start soon.”

Miss Asia Pageant won’t be final show for ailing Hong Kong network ATV

Ip said he did not plan to watch ATV on Friday night and just wanted to spend the night quietly.

“ATV is always in my heart,” he said.

Now executive director and chief executive of Co-Prosperity Holdings, Ip said his company still had plans to “help” ATV but could not disclose details.

While Ip has gone on to greener pastures, many of his former colleagues have not been so lucky.

“My financial situation is fine,” Lau said, “but I know many former colleagues who are struggling now.”

Lau said the government should seize the opportunity to review its broadcasting policy.

“Some people said online media caused the demise of ATV and people don’t watch TV these days. But look at Korea and Taiwan. Their TV industries are still flourishing,” said Lau.

He added that even if ATV were to resume broadcasting in the future, it would not be the same ATV he used to know.