2010年9月8日 星期三

What Sort of Free TV Station HK People Needs?

Following is my submission to Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority in response to the public consultation regarding the Applications for Domestic Free Television Programme Service Licences in conjunction to my separate submission in Chinese

Firstly, I need to strongly oppose the long-believed saying that "audience leads TV" paradox. In fact, in contrast, "TV leads audience" is what I long insist. Furthermore, the fact that contemporary top intellects from both the literal and scientific academic are kept luring to writing screenplays and seriously involved in the production American TV programs and episodes which, in turn, often turn out to be enjoying the highest ratings as well as most welcomed by public audience, it obviously testifies that American TV industry unanimously treasure and respect intellectual and culture. We can view this as one of the TV's contribution to the advent and well-kept of human culture.

Thus, in my view of screening and selecting one, or more applicants, viz., City Telecom (H.K.) Limited, Fantastic TV Limited (I-Cable) and HKTVE (PCCW Interactive), to be granted the Domestic Free Television Programme Service Licences, the following three (3) guidelines are what I believe BA should sensibly consider and adopt:

1. The granted Domestic Free Television Programme Service licensee while in the role as a TV operator does exhibit a culture vision for the good of Hong Kong people.

  • Merely from the financial soundness figures the three applicants submitted without detail breakdowns, I don't see the operator-may-be has the culture vision or the international exposure to dictate Hong Kong viewers' cultural orientation.
  • Nor the programmes proposed, which are nothing more than bundling all previous chargeable programmes in a package free to the new viewers to generate new revenue streams.
  • Nevertheless, creativity in new TV programmes is not yet a yardstick in selection criteria.
  • I also do not see from the three applicants the desire to lead and act as a pioneer towards the new era of the HK TV industry.
2. Financial strength and track records to provide premium quality programs amidst fierce competition.
  • The applicant when facing inevitable fierce competition from others should be trustworthy to response with a positive and constructive attitude, and not the opposite.
  • While the new free TV operation certainly creates competition which is, of course, one of the goals to initiate the application, yet it is equally certain that the competition may possibly fall into a negative side whereas some of them may copycat and exaggerate the existing vulgar, clap trapping, sex and violent orientated programmes in order to compete, resulting further deteriorating the value and moral standards majority of Hong Kong people choose to believe.
  • It is BA's utmost responsibility that the above scenario should it foster needed to be timely monitored in addition to providing guidelines to all players.
3. Competent technology strength for future broadcasting/telecom development
  • Has the insight to recognize the technology impact and economic influence to the future of TV industry.
  • Bolstering Hong Kong as an international city, as a Hong Kong-based content-provider and broadcaster, the applicant needs the insight of today's TV technology breakthroughs which can result, if they work hard enough, in a paradigm shift outside regional geographical limit to embrace the Chinese Diaspora.
  • Watching free TV on mobile phones and pad computers is one of the many examples, not to mention the latest new marketing strategy Apple TV is pushing out in North America.
  • Triggering from this, any Hong Kong TV operators should remind us that an inception of unprecedented local Hong Kong techno/business model will very likely be possible, with the mastery of the latest hardware and software technology.

Lastly, the scenario I indeed hate to see is that while BA is to assist the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the execution of its broadcasting policies, it finally settles in selecting one or more new Domestic Free Television Programme Service Licensee (s) which may likely not to whole-heartedly address Hong Kong people's "real" favorites, and worse yet, bolster carnivorous competition and operate in Neolithic technology.

Thank you.

Steven Lau (WriterCommentator)

Sep 8, 2010

2010年9月7日 星期二





反之,「電視台主導觀眾」才是我所堅信的。今天美國收視率高、最受歡迎的電視節目和劇集,都是出自當今頂尖的文學家和科學家之手(最近和霍金合寫新書《Grand Design》的作者物理學家Leonard Mlodinow也是Star Trek的編劇之一),他們很多肯走到電視台幕後寫劇本,因為電視台珍惜人類的文化智慧,尊重他們,重金禮聘,有識之士皆願意利用電視入屋的廣播平台,透過多元性片集、清談和益智性的遊戲節目、資訊記錄片及新聞文化等,宣揚人類文化,提升國民心智,這才是免費電視對社會的真正貢獻,而優質的content因而得以累積成為人類文化寶庫歷史的一部分。現今互聯網上巨大的數據庫也發揮著同一功能。

畢竟,香港的市場太小,要求將來香港新的免費電視台與英國BBC、美國的NBC、ABC和CBS等相提並論難免是痴人說夢,如今要在三家提交牌照申請公司中包括城市電訊(香港)有限公司(城市電訊) 、奇妙電視有限公司(i-Cable)及香港電視娛樂有限公司(PCCW) 之間作甄選,擇其一或全部也可以,但我認為要創出一間香港人引以為榮的免費電視台為出發點,廣播事務管理局定要考慮以下三大前提:一、申請公司營運電視台理念應具文化願景;二、將來新的免費電視台面對競爭時應抱積極正面態度;和三、申請公司應具科技認知及遠見。

一、 申請公司營運電視台理念應具文化願景




二、 將來新的免費電視台面對競爭時應抱積極正面態度



作家 ∙ 時事評論員劉兆生(Steven Lau)
2010 年9 月8日