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SCED speaks to media on TVB's application for renewal of free TV licence

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at a media session on Television Broadcasts Limited's application for renewal of its domestic free television programme service licence at the Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (May 12):

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: Now I would like to say a few words to repeat in English the key points of my remarks.

     The Chief Executive in Council, on the recommendations of the Communications Authority (CA), has today decided to approve the application for renewal of the domestic free television programme service (free TV) licence of Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) for a period of 12 years from December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2027, subject to a mid-term review in 2021.

     In processing the application for licence renewal of TVB, the CA carried out a comprehensive assessment on its performance and conducted a public consultation exercise from February 4 to April 3, 2014 to gauge public views on TVB's service. The CA considers that TVB has generally complied with the statutory requirements, the licence conditions and the codes of practice in respect of television programming, advertising and technical standards. The CA also accepted TVB's investment plan and is satisfied with its financial capability to deliver its commitment.

     The licence conditions in the renewed licence of TVB are largely based on its existing licence, with additional requirements imposed to address public calls for improvements in its programming variety and quality. TVB is required to provide an additional four hours per week of positive programmes in total on its digital channels, which are currently exempted from such programming requirement. These include current affairs programmes, documentary, arts and culture programmes, and programmes for young persons. All must be first-run programmes with 60 minutes per week for each genre. TVB has also committed that each year at least 12 000 hours of the programmes on its service will be local production.

     Other requirements including provision of first-run positive programmes and the licensee's commitment to enhance provision of subtitling to its digital services have also been incorporated in the renewed licence.

     All along, the objective of our broadcasting policy is to provide more programme choices for our audiences. We encourage investments in our broadcasting industry with a view to enhancing fair and effective competition. Today's decision also aligns with this objective. Thank you.

Reporter: Mr So, there are concerns about TVB's quality of service and political neutrality and so forth, will there be new clauses in the renewal process to address these concerns? And when will you grant Fantastic TV a proper licence?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: I believe in my opening remarks I have already indicated the additional requirements pursuant to the views that have been expressed in public consultation. Therefore the additional requirements will be included in this licence in turn. I would not repeat because I have read out a whole chunk on additional requirements.

     And your second question about Fantastic TV. Fantastic TV's application is still being processed by the Chief Executive in Council. But pursuant to the request of Fantastic TV, the Chief Executive in Council will give Fantastic TV additional time until September 15 this year to provide additional information and also invited the Communications Authority to process this additional information that will be provided by Fantastic TV with a view to providing the Chief Executive in Council its recommendation and comments.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:03


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