×

ATV, World’s Oldest Chinese TV Channel, Closes Down

Asia Television, the Hong Kong TV channel that was the world’s first Chinese-language TV broadcaster, closed down a few seconds before midnight on Friday April 1.

ATV, which was born as Rediffusion and operated for 59 years, put out its last live newscast in Chinese at 10.30pm. It filled the remaining time with the partial rerun of a Miss Asia beauty pageant, programming which had latterly become the channel’s staple.

The company was stripped of its broadcast license by the Hong Kong government, due to a series of mismanagement incidents, and, broke, has been in the hands of court-appointed administrators for the since February.

ATV’s ownership over the past decade has been continually in turmoil and did not stabilize long enough for management to turn around ATV’s declining audiences and plunging advertising income.

Within minutes of ATV’s last transmission, its frequencies were taken up by government-owned Radio Television Hong Kong (RTKH). At roughly the same time PCCW-backed HKTVE also started to transmit its digital free television program channel, ViuTV Channel 99, through radio waves.

“These new free TV services will provide additional program choices for TV viewers,” said Greg So, government Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

“ATV has been broadcasting in Hong Kong for 59 years, producing a wealth of classic television programs. With the launching of new free TV services, I hope that the television industry of Hong Kong will be brought to a new height.”

The company’s current shareholders have pointed to a new life for ATV on the Internet after free-to-air broadcasting has ended, but that may put it at odds with the liquidators who issued redundancy notices in February. Some 400 former ATV staff have applied for compensation from a government fund after ATV failed to pay their salaries for January and February.

Uncertainties remain as to whether ATV can still make use of its right to broadcast in the Cantonese-speaking Guangdong region of China, known as ‘landing rights,’ and the fate of its vast news and program libraries.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: Welcome to 'Camp Redwood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of “American Horror Story: 1984” entitled “Camp Redwood.” Welcome back to “American Horror Story,” which in its ninth season travels back in time to the 1970s and 1980s to play in the slasher genre. Only one episode into the season, it already [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

  • The Mentalist

    #NotWorthLess: 'I Was Great and Deserve to Be Paid the Same'

    Women writers, producers and assistants across Twitter turned the hashtag #NotWorthLess into a trend Wednesday, shining a light on issues of pay inequality in the entertainment business. Sparked by screenwriter Adele Lim’s recent decision to walk away from the “Crazy Rich Asians” sequel in protest of being paid less than her male co-writer, dozens of [...]

  • does self-described "family brands" business Hasbro

    With Hasbro Acquisition, Is eOne Planning to Offload Family-Unfriendly Properties?

    Hasbro’s $4 billion acquisition of eOne in August instantly put the Canadian toy giant in the league of major entertainment and content companies thanks to eOne’s arsenal of IP assets in music, television and film. But does the self-described “family brands” business that’s home to The Game of Life and My Little Pony align with [...]

  • Mariah Carey Tracee Ellis Ross

    Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross Celebrate Biracial Heritage at “Mixed-ish” Premiere

    Mariah Carey and Tracee Ellis Ross embraced their “ish” at Tuesday night’s series premiere event for ABC’s “Mixed-ish” by reflecting on how their biracial identity makes working on the new show even more personal. “I’m just so thankful that this show exists,” Carey told the assembled crowd during a Q&A with series creator Kenya Barris. [...]

  • THE BACHELORETTE - "The Bachelorette: Season

    'The Bachelor': ABC Reality Boss Talks Ratings Success, Diversity Backlash

    Last night, Peter Weber was unveiled, perhaps unsurprisingly, as the next Bachelor during the season finale of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Weber’s selection coincided with a season-high rating for “Paradise,” and caps a solid ratings summer for the “Bachelor” franchise. As ratings have been in decline across the board this summer, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content