Saturday, April 13, 2024

Review of Domestic Free Television Programme Service and Sound Broadcasting Licences Announced

The Hong Kong Government announced announce on February 14th that the Chief Executive (CE) in Council has accepted the recommendations made by the Communications Authority (CA) (see Annex) following the licence mid-term review of the three domestic free television programme service (free TV) licensees (Television Broadcasts Limited, HK Television Entertainment Company Limited and Fantastic Television Limited) and the two sound broadcasting licensees (Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company Limited and Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited), with a view to encouraging further investment in the industry, and optimising and updating the programme requirements for promoting continuously the development of the broadcasting industry.

During the mid-term review, the CA consulted the public extensively, including conducting opinion survey, online public consultation session, focus group discussion and receiving written submissions, as well as considering views of the licensees in a comprehensive manner. The CA considers that the services of the licensees largely met the expectations of the pubic, and the public also supports some form of relaxation to allow more flexibility to the licensees in terms of programme management. The CA has also examined the records of the licensees’ compliance with the relevant statutory requirements, licence conditions and the codes of practices. It considers that the licensees had largely complied with the regulatory requirements in the first six years of the licence.

The validity period of free TV and sound broadcasting licenses are both 12 years. Pursuant to the relevant statutory and licensing requirements, the CE in Council shall conduct a mid-term review after half (i.e. six years) of the licence validity period. A mid-term review is not to consider the future licence renewal arrangements of the licensees. The CA’s recommendations as accepted by the CE in Council are to be implemented by way of licence amendments and/or directions by the CA.

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