The Hong Kong government has in principle approved two pay-TV operators to open new free-to-air television channels. The two applicants set to get the new licences – the first in 40 years – are i-Cable’s Fantastic Television and PCCW’s Hong Kong Television Entertainment.
A third application by City Telecom-owned Hong Kong Television Network, run by Ricky Wong Wai-kay, was reportedly dismissed by the Chief Executive and the Executive Council.
Wong has been the most high-profile of the three applicants. He has invested more than HK$300 million in TV-related businesses and his Hong Kong Television Network has started its own production company and signed a team of actors and actresses.
PCCW and i-Cable have so far been operating as pay TV channels.
The decision on the two companies is still subject to a final approval by the Chief Executive and the Executive Council. If they get final approval, this will double the city’s number of free-to-air TV operators to four. ATV and TVB currently hold free-to-air licences.
PCCW is expected to invest HK$600 million over the next three years, while i-Cable will invest HK$1 billion over the next six years.