Hong Kong’s largest broadcaster Television Broadcasts (TVB) will up its game in global market with an upgraded over-the-top platform to be launched in June. The move comes at a time of turmoil and decline in Hong Kong’s local terrestrial TV business.
TVB is also co-producing drama series with mainland China new media giants, Tencent Penguin Pictures and iQiyi, in order to refresh its massive content library and improve production values of its output. TVB has a content library with over 80,000-hours of material.
Desmond Chan, TVB’s deputy general manager (legal & international operations), told Variety that TVB will be more aggressive in the global market with the upgraded TVB Anywhere platform, which is available via set-top boxes and a mobile app. Chan said that TVB’s investment in the venture exceeded $1.29 million (HK$10 million.)
Last year TVB rolled out myTV Super, an OTT platform targeting Hong Kong viewers. Chan said TVB Anywhere is aimed at the overseas Chinese communities, including both Cantonese and Mandarin speakers.
The platform is already available but an upgraded version will be launched in June. That will allow access to the massive back catalog.
A TV box package will be available at US$155 in the first year and US$120 for renewal. A pass for mobile device will cost US$70 per year. Chan said the interface will be available in both Chinese and English, and will be developed into other Asian languages in future, such as Vietnamese and Cambodian.
TVB is investing in new content in order to attract younger viewers, who may be less interested in the library material.
TVB is co-producing three titles with Penguin. Crime thriller “Line Walker 2” is slated for the third quarter. A sequel to TVB costume drama hit “Beyond the Realm of Conscience” and “Heart of Greed 3” are also in production. The broadcaster will co-produce “At the Threshold of An Era 3” and an unnamed title with iQiyi.
TVB has been eager to expand its market. The company’s 2016 interim report showed that revenue from Hong Hong TV broadcasting dropped 11% from $180 million (HK$1.4 billion)in the first half of 2015 to $155 million (HK$1.2 billion.)
Although TVB enjoys an 80% market share in Hong Kong, new free TV players including PCCW’s Viu TV and i-Cable’s Fantastic TV, and OTT platforms such as Netflix are increasing competition.
Meanwhile, rival, Wharf Holdings confirmed that it will go ahead with the launch in May of new ad-supported broadcaster Fantastic TV. That confirmation came despite Wharf this month announcing that it will cease its financial support of pay-TV subsidiary i-Cable after nine years of losses.