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TVB returns pay TV license due to $2.2bn in losses

TVB Network Vision announced yesterday that it has informed the government and the Communications Authority of its decision to surrender their Domestic Pay TV Programme Service Licence.

The decision came after years of losses. According to TVBNV, the pay TV service has been operating in the red since its launched in 2004, and losses have accumulated to more than $2.2 billion over the years.

A TVBNV spokesperson quoted rampant online piracy, proliferation of OTT services and the downturn of Hong Kong’s economy in recent years as reasons for discontinuing the pay TV business.

“Virtually all the contents provided by TVBNV have been pirated and made available on a large number of illicit websites, apps and set-top-boxes which led to increasing subscriber churn rate.”

The spokesperson blamed the government for doing little to address the issues, particularly online piracy and regulatory provisions which do not keep up with the times.

“The proliferation of OTT services are competing for eyeballs and advertisers. OTT service providers, however, are not subject to the stringent regulatory provisions in the same way as we are under the Broadcasting Ordinance. The weak economic outlook and continued falling retail sales have resulted in significant drop in advertising revenue,” said the spokesperson in a statement.

TVBNV now provides 60 Hong Kong and international channels to cover content from Asian and global drama series, movies and entertainment shows, documentaries and news.

TVBNV subscribers will soon receive special packagers to migrate to myTV SUPER. Current subscriptions will not be renewed on expiry and the pay TV service will be curtailed once surrender of the licence is accepted by the government.

The government granted four licences, including Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting (TVBNV’s former name), in December 2000 in a bid to open up the pay television market. Hong Kong Network TV, TV Plus and Yes TV surrendered their licences in April 2001, April 2004 and July 2004 respectively.

TVBNV’s licence was renewed for a further period of 12 years in 2013.


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