Hong Kong – The Chief Executive-in-Council recently granted PCCW Limited the approval-in-principle for the group company HK Television Entertainment Company Limited’s (HKTVE) application for a Domestic Free Television Programme Service Licence (Free TV licence). The company announced a total investment plan across the first six years of operations estimated to be over HK$1.3 billion, and a substantial part of which will be invested in programming and production. 

HKTVE has the full financial support of PCCW, which commands a market capitalisation of approximately HK$25.2 billion. PCCW recorded EBITDA of HK$7.8 billion and profits of HK$1.66 billion in 2012. Steady earning contributions from the telecommunications operations, as well as profits from the media and IT solutions businesses, will enable the company to sustainably deploy high quality Free TV programming, it said.

Since submitting its Free TV licence application three years ago, the company has expanded local production capabilities in various genres covering news, sports, entertainment, drama, travel, food, lifestyle and variety programming. 

HKTVE currently employs over 1,500 dedicated media professionals and creative talents,and has invested in artistes and talent development over the past three years in preparation for the Free TV service.

HKTVE has also set up three recruitment telephone hotlines for ex-employees of Ricky Wong’s HKTV, and other individuals who are interested in joining their production and talent management department, broadcasting engineering and production facilities department, or human resources department. In the recent licence allocation, the Hong Kong government awarded free TV licences to i-Cable and PCCW, but not to HKTV.

In addition to producing its own drama series, the company will also acquire local and international drama productions, it announced. HKTVE’s Free TV will also offer viewers different programme genres such as news, sports and entertainment. Furthermore, the company will acquire outstanding programmes produced by local independent production companies, in its aim to help create and support a healthy local independent production ecology and culture in Hong Kong, it said.