i-Cable Communications’ affiliate Fantastic TV will launch on 14 May, despite HK$313 million in losses last year. The company will need to inject more than HK$1 billion in the first six years of operation, as per license requirements.
The station will start airing at 8pm, with its Cantonese channel 77 offering round-the-clock broadcast services. Its English channel will start a year later.
The free-to-air channel will focus on local variety shows, such as a food show hosted by actor Chapman To in which nasty food – not delicious ones – take center stage. Hosts will warn the public against them.
There will be more shows targeting families, including one on parents and top schools in Hong Kong, and a travel program in which former anchor Akina Fong travels with her mother.
According to The Standard, Fantastic TV executive director Tom Cheung downplayed speculation that i-Cable will give up pay TV and prop up the free station, saying it is “hypothetical”. A conclusion will be reached when financial consultants finish their report.
Fantastic TV will use the news reports of Cable TV, Cheung said. He added it was not his position to decide whether there would be layoffs in the pay-TV network’s news department.
Wharf has said no deals have been reached to sell its television and internet broadband business i-Cable Communications.