|Ricky Wong denounces TV license regime being turned into ‘beauty contest,’ shares take a beating
Hong Kong Television Network chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay has deplored the government for changing the free television licensing process into a “beauty contest’’ from the policy stance of no limit to the number of licenses.
Shares in the company tumbled more than 30 percent today amid an early morning announcement of staff cuts. HKTV is laying off 320 employees following the failure to win a free TV license from the government.
At the close of trading today shares in HKTV had slumped by 33.9 percent to HK$2.03 per share.
Wong said the news was a shock considering that the network had met “all requirements including financial capability and commitment, program investment, program strategy, production capability and technical standard, and is most capable among the three applicants.’’
As of February 28 this year, HKTV had invested HK$200 million on programs production and HK$206 million on operating expenses, as well as HK$520 million on capital expenditure for the construction of Multimedia Production Center in Tseung Kwan O, purchases of movie-grade equipment and office properties, Wong said in a statement.
Since making an application on December 31, 2009, HKTV had put its trust in the government and the system, Wong said. HKTV expected to be treated in a fair, open and transparent basis.
“During these three years and 10 months, we have been devoted fully to create and produce a variety of programs, determined to reform the local TV market.’’
Of the 500 employees, HKTV will shed 320 workers “who do not
have time-bounded contracts,’’ the statement said.--The Standard