Never-say-die ATV reinvents itself with app

Local | Phoenix Un 18 Dec 2017

ATV never dies: Twenty one months after it went offline, saddled with fake news scandals, licensing problems, debts and unpaid salaries, the TV station relaunched itself yesterday with program reruns though fresh ones would begin broadcast on December 29.

The company is to hold a press conference today, hosted by a lineup of former stakeholders, namely ex-general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan, columnist Chip Cho, artistes Margie Tsang Wah-sin and Queenie Chu Wai-man. Chan, it is rumored, will host the relaunch of ATV's signature program Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The free TV station switched off on April 1, 2016, after failing to get its free-to-air license renewed by the government.

In the resurrected ATV, new technology will figure in. As an "Over-the-Top" provider, it will supply content over the internet via website and mobile applications, alongside the conventional free and charged services priced at HK$38 a month.

ATV's renewed life came after the High Court approved its restructuring plan by owner Co-Prosperity Holdings which had pledged to repay debts in the second quarter of 2018.

Following this, ATV went on Facebook to uploaded the station's new logo: an orange TV set on a red monitor screen accompanied by the tagline "ATV, your TV, your call."

A big draw to the new station will be a mainland drama starring Fan Bingbing, the rights to which ATV had bought with more than HK$20 million.

ATV has already hired more than 200 staff, more than 80 percent of who had worked with TVB, including digital media CEO Ng Yu, senior advisor Ho Lai-Chuen and director of external affairs Tsang Sing-ming.

Before its closure, ATV was plagued by scandals, among which it had in 2011 falsely reported on the death of former President Jiang Zemin.

On September 2014 the Communications Authority proposed not extending ATV's life of 59 years. The following year, on April 1, the government formally announced that the license would be withdrawn on expiry in 2016.

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