HK police arrest 2 for slander and calling boycotts of TVB and its advertisers

Two individuals have been arrested after posting threatening content on social media, and calling for people to boycott TVB and its clients placing ads on TVB channels.

According to multiple reports including The Standard, the police arrested a 18-year-old secondary six male student and a 26-year-old man, who were suspected of conspiracy of criminal intimidation, inciting others to take part in unauthorised assemblies and to doing grievous bodily harm with intent. They were also suspected of continuously publishing content slandering TVB and threatening the company's advertisers to not place any ads on its channels.

The police told the press that TVB, as well as its artistes and advertisers, were attacked indiscriminately by the page, which also encouraged netizens to boycott TVB as well as companies which place ads on it. It urged netizens to click on the "angry" reaction on TVB's Facebook page to impact the page's social standing. Some of TVB's advertisers include Futu Securities, Cafe de Coral, Broadway, Taipan, amongst others. 

In a statement, TVB said it learned that the police arrested two suspects on 28 July of spreading messages that incited nuisance towards its advertisers and artistes. It added that the Internet is not a lawless world, and TVB condemned all online and offline illegal acts and appreciates the police for their investigation work and will cooperate fully with the police to bring offenders to justice.

TVB is a television broadcasting company in Hong Kong that offers terrestrial television channels since 1967. It has over the years been known for its Miss Hong Kong and Miss Chinese International pageants along with programming.

Like most businesses, last year was a tough one for TVB. According to its latest annual report, revenue for 2020 decreased from HK$3,649 million to HK$2,724 million, a decline of 25%. Income from advertisers under the Hong Kong TV broadcasting segment decreased from HK$1,910 million to HK$881 million, a decline of 54%. Non-advertising revenue from TVB’s digital platforms increased from HK$509 million to HK$552 million, an increase of 8% which was driven by steady growth in subscription business and e-commerce sales.

Banking on eCommerce opportunities, TVB started to commercialise content of some Jade’s prime time programmes, including Scoop (東張西望) for cross promotion of products of eCommerce platform “Big Big Shop”. TVB also entered into cross platform promotion in new hour-long advertisement programme Big Big Shopping Nite (big big shop感謝祭on Jade which adopted a live selling format starring TVB artistes.

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