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Free TV licence for Fantastic TV granted

     The Government today (May 31) announced that the Chief Executive (CE) in Council has decided to formally grant a domestic free television programme service (free TV) licence to Fantastic Television Limited (Fantastic TV).

     The licence will be valid from today for 12 years until May 30, 2028, subject to a mid-term review around 2022.

     Speaking on the grant of the new free TV licence, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, said, "The entry of Fantastic TV into the free TV market would foster further development of the broadcasting and creative industries. The audience at large is set to benefit from a wider choice of programmes through the additional investment in programming and local content production and increasing competition."

     Fantastic TV will launch its integrated Cantonese channel within 12 months after the grant of the licence and an integrated English channel within 24 months. Both channels will provide round-the-clock services.

     The new free TV service will be delivered via fixed network. Fantastic TV has proposed to hire the fixed network operated by Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (Cable TV's fixed network) to transmit its free TV service. Viewers served by the communal aerial broadcast distribution (CABD) system, after upgrading their building's CABD system by interconnecting it with Cable TV's fixed network, may receive Fantastic TV's free TV signals with Integrated Digital Television sets or digital terrestrial television set-top boxes.

     Since the grant of approval-in-principle to Fantastic TV's application by the CE in Council in October 2013, the Communications Authority (CA) has proceeded with the follow-up work and discussed with Fantastic TV outstanding issues including its compliance with the statutory requirements under the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562), programming requirements and proposed licence conditions.

     Upon Fantastic TV's request, the CE in Council has given it additional time to resolve all outstanding issues and satisfactorily address the concerns of the CA in relation to its application, including, amongst others, the proposed corporate restructuring to ensure its compliance with the non-subsidiary requirement under the Broadcasting Ordinance.

     On the basis of the supplementary information provided by Fantastic TV including that on its corporate status, the CA made a further recommendation to the CE in Council on April 18, 2016. The CA concluded in its recommendation that a free TV licence should be granted to Fantastic TV.

Ends/Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:45


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