RTHK haunted by poor showing

Top News | Stella Wong and Phoenix Un 29 Nov 2018

The average rating of Radio Television Hong Kong's TV programs is low, with some scoring a mere 0.1 points - or an audience of about 6,400 people - the Audit Commission said.

That 0.1 points was the average rating of RTHK TV 31/31A from January to June, according to the commission's report.

The two Chinese-language channels' ratings ranged from less than 0.05 to 2.2 - or fewer than 3,200 to 140,800 viewers.

The report added that for TV31 and TV32, 20.8 percent and 53.1 percent of their broadcasting hours were used to air miscellaneous content, which might have reduced the attractiveness of the channels.

The report also said the Independent Commission Against Corruption found RTHK's practice of acquiring programs could pose a collusion risk to favor a supplier. RTHK proposes a price and then negotiates with the single supplier, instead of inviting a quotation from the supplier.

The report said among RTHK's seven radio channels, the number of listeners has been shrinking for four of them.

The number of listeners of Radio 6 decreased by 57 percent from 181,000 in 2013 to 78,000 in 2017. For Radio 7, the number dropped by 33 percent from 232,000 in 2013 to 155,000 in 2017.

In addition, kindergartens and secondary schools are watching fewer educational TV programs produced by RTHK.

The average number of school ETV programs watched by each kindergarten class dropped 66 percent from 13.1 in 2004-05 to 4.4 in 2015-16, while that for secondary schools decreased 38 percent from 9.6 to six programs.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the figures do not fully reflect the use of ETV programs by teachers and students, as only part of ETV is used in teaching and learning, and students also view the programs outside the classroom.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said he believes RTHK will make improvements according to the report.

Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong slammed RTHK for the lack of attractiveness of its programs.

The Professional Commons' Charles Mok believes RTHK is suffering from a long-term lack of resources. He said the government should inject more resources so the channels will not go to waste.

"What I am most concerned about is that certain political forces, especially the pro-establishment and even the government itself, may take this auditor's report to further justify not giving more resources to RTHK, which is actually the root of the whole problem," Mok said.

He said RTHK has been taking on more responsibilities in recent years such as developing digital broadcasting and new media coverage.

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