Territory Reports: Hong Kong

Flexibility creates opportunities

HONG KONG — Flexible schedules at the two free-to-air broadcasters in Hong Kong mean that if a good show pops up at the L.A. Screenings, room can be made for it.

“There are slots for whatever works in Hong Kong,” says Cecilia Tan, assistant controller of the program division for dominant broadcaster Television Broadcasts (TVB).

In addition to movies, particularly American ones, dramas such as “Prison Break” or reality shows like “America’s Next Top Model” do well on TVB, Tan says.

Less than half of programming on English-language TVB Pearl is American, but those shows pull in higher ratings than programs from Japan or Korea.

At Asia Television (ATV), “CSI,” now in its sixth season, and “Grey’s Anatomy,” which unveiled its third season April 17, have performed well.

While ATV doesn’t currently have any slots to fill, it will be looking for drama series for its English-language ATV World channel, according to Shuen-shuen Hung, veep for channels management for ATV World and Chinese-language ATV Home. If there is a good show that screens in L.A., however, ATV World’s schedule can be adjusted to accommodate it.

“We cannot stay fixed to one formula,” Hung says.

With a flexible schedule comes a flexible budget, she notes.

“It depends on what is really popular around the world,” Hung says, adding that she looks to the U.S. and U.K. for trends.

While American series usually fill ATV’s four drama slots at 10 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, there are exceptions. Currently, the channel is showing the U.K.’s “Dr. Who” as well as Fuji-produced “The Great White Tower” from Japan.

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