TV-economics

There appears to be some turbulence on the airwaves surrounding Hong Kong public television licenses. The government is currently pondering on whether they should issue more licenses and I suppose they are consulting stakeholders. Considering there are only two public TV networks (ATV and TVB have multiple channels each), it was only expected that they would get half arsed reasoning from them. ATV’s Executive Director said that there would be disastrous consequences for the industry, while others have used false economics to back their reasoning for not issuing new licenses.

Excuse the finance guy coming out in me, but the basic concept of a free market economy (We’re in Hong Kong remember) suggests more competition means the consumer wins.

Captain Obvious says I am a consumer, as are you. But who are the other winners? Well for starters advertisers will have new avenues and new target markets. Increasing revenues for the local agencies which, if they do their jobs properly, should lead to increased flow of money in the local market.

It stands to reason, the only real potential losers are ATV and TVB.

As an overseas Chinese, I’ve grown up watching TVB and I owe much of my Cantonese language skills to their television series. Their yearly variety shows are stuff of legend and they are definitely an institution here. ATV on the other hand have always relied on the scraps¬†leftover by TVB audiences, in particular, those who prefer crappy production values. So based on this in-depth anecdotal evidence, I would surmise ATV is the only real loser in this equation – but not even really – from what I understand most of their revenues are now derived from the mainland China market now.

It’s a rather large pie. They each have rather large pieces, and they’re scrappy eaters. Don’t waste this opportunity, Hong Kong Government! Get some real connoisseurs in there and make sure there are¬†deserving winners.

by Cal Wong

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