HKTVE to debut free to air TV service in April

Staff writer
telecomasia.net

HK Television Entertainment Company Limited (HKTVE) is slated to debut its free to air TV service, ViuTV, with the launch of a 24-hour Cantonese digital channel in April.

According to HKTVE, ViuTV will provide 4,000 hours of new programs each year, with content of both locally produced and internationally acquired.

About one third of content will be variety shows and factual entertainment, while another 30% will be programs covering information, news and business, and the remaining will be drama series acquired from overseas and other programs including sports, animation and children's shows.

In a bid to differentiate itself from dominant rival Television Broadcasts (TVB) and attract younger viewers, prime time will mostly be dedicated to reality shows, or the so-called “factual entertainment” shows, Lo Ting-Fai, general manager of

HKTVE said at a press conference. HKTVE is the free TV operation under PCCW, which also owns pay TV station Now TV.

One of the highlighted “factual entertainment” shows, for example, is the controversial travel show Travel with Rivals, which has paired up 12 implausible travelling companions into six groups. One episode features Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang going on a trip with radical legislator “Long Hari” Leung Kwok-hung.

ViuTV will syndicate news programs from sister company NowTV, but it will also produce its own in-depth news programs. There is also a self-produced children’s program in the evening time slot hosted by people of different races, which Lo said is aimed to “develop a broader world view for the next generation.”

ViuTV will have a soft launch on March 31 for Now TV subscribers, with a full launch scheduled on April 6 on channel number 99.

An English channel before March next year in order to abide by the license requirements, Lo said.

HKTVE has committed to invest HK$2.7 billion in ViuTV over the next 10 years and the company has hired about 10 former ATV employees over the past six months, he said.

Meanwhile dominant rival TVB has announced plans to roll out its new OTT video service platform, myTV SUPER, offering 30 channels featuring dramas, movies and entertainment shows on April 18. The subscription fee starts at HK$68 a month. 

TVB has also clinched partnership with the city’s fixed operator HKBN and mobile carrier 3 HK to offer the new service.

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