Asia Television Limited

Asia Television Limited

company_name = Asia Television Limited
company_type = Limited company
company_slogan =
foundation = May 29, 1957
location = 25-31 Dai Shing Street,
Tai Po Industrial Estate,
Tai Po, Hong Kong
key_people = Wong Po Yan (Chairman)
Chan Wing-kee (Chief Executive)
industry = Television broadcasting
num_employees =
products =
revenue =
homepage = []

Asia Television Limited (zh-tp|t=亞洲電視有限公司|p=Yàzhōu Diànshì Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī) is one of the two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong, the other being its arch-rival Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB). It launched in 1957 under the name Rediffusion Television as the first television station in Hong Kong. It was bought out, renamed and restructured to "Asia Television Limited" in 1982.

ATV currently operates eight channels: the 24-hour Home channel, which broadcasts in Cantonese; the 22-hour World channel, which broadcasts primarily in English; the 24-hour satellite channel ATV Home (America), which is accessible in North America via satellite in Cantonese, and five digital DMB-T/H channels: a 24-hour news and finance news channel; His TV, a 24-hour sports and infotainment channel aimed at men; Her TV, a 24-hour lifestyle infotainment channel aimed at women; Plus TV, a 24-hour documentary channel; and a two-hour high-definition channel.

In 2002, ATV gained approval from China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television to beam its Home and World channels to the Guangdong Pearl River Delta region. ATV has also established a close relationship with Guangdong TV to ensure their stable cooperation in programme productions, advertising and sales.

ATV has received numerous awards for its programmes. One of its successes is the local version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" (百萬富翁), a game show originally launched in the United Kingdom in 1998. In 2001, ATV bought the production rights for the Hong Kong market, and subsequently enjoyed an upturn in its viewing figures. TVB responded by producing similar game shows.

Ownership history

Rediffusion Television, the predecessor to ATV, began as a wired radio broadcasting service in 1949.Kitley, Philip. [2003] (2003). Television, Regulation and Civil Society in Asia. Routledge. ISBN 0415297338] It launched its subscription-based TV service on May 29, 1957, and was given a free-to-air television broadcasting license in 1973.

In 1981, Rediffusion in the UK sold 61% of its shares in RTV to an Australian consortium. In July 1982, a Chinese enterprise called "Far East Group" ( _zh. 遠東機構), owned by the Chiu family, took a stake in the company, such that "Far East Group" and the Australian consortium each held 50% of RTV's shares. The move marked the first time that a Chinese enterprise had played a role in RTV. RTV was renamed "Asia Television" later in the same year."ATV 46th Anniversary Retrospective" (2003), p.34]

The company that operated ATV frequently recorded losses, and in January 1984, following the withdrawal of the Australian enterprise, the Chiu family bought all of the shares.

In August 1987, the shares of ATV were put up for sale. One year later, Asia Television Limited, the Lam family (led by Lim Por Yen) and the New World Group each owned one-third of the shares. At that time, the members of Board of Directors included Deacon Chiu ( _zh. 邱德根), Lim Por Yen and Cheng Yu-tung.

On January 30, 1989, the Chiu family sold its shares of ATV to New World Group and Lai Sun Group ( _zh. 麗新集團) for HK$237.5 million. The New World Group held half of the shares, while the Lam family owned one-third and Lai Sun held one-sixth. At the same time, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) joined as a minority shareholder. As announced by the Board of Directors, the new Chairman was Cheng Yue-tung and the Vice-Chairman was Lim Por Yen. The Administrative Director was Selina Chow.

In November 2002, Lai Sun Development, which was heavily indebted following the HK$7 billion acquisition of the Furama Hotel at the height of the property bubble in 1997, announced that it would sell its 32.75% stake to the company's chief executive, Chan Wing-kee (陳永棋), for HK$360 million in cash [ Dennis Eng, [ A little less debt for ailing Lai Sun] , The Standard, November 18, 2002]

In June 2007, Chan, along with Liu Changle (劉長樂), chairman of Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Limited, established a company that later bought most of ATV's shares. Afterwards, Chan Wing-kei took the post of Administrative Director General. With the change of shareholder, there was innovation in the direction of production, marketing strategy and human resources. One of the significant changes is the increasing purchase of foreign programmes such as the South Korean Drama Autumn in My Heart/Endless Love (藍色生死戀).


In July 2007, ATV left its longtime home at 81 Broadcast Drive in Kowloon Tong, and moved into a new facility in Tai Po.

News operation

ATV News is the newsgathering arm of ATV. It produces daily newscasts in Cantonese, Mandarin and English, which are seen on its Home, World, and News & Business Channels. Additional foreign news coverage is provided by CNN and CBS.

With the recent shift in ownership towards mainland interests, ATV News is now widely considered to be the most biased and Pro-Communist news operation in Hong Kong, losing much of its credibility and viewership as a resultFact|date=June 2008.


ATV broadcasts a range of television programmes, including news, infotainment, drama and variety shows. In addition to producing its own shows, ATV has acquired popular TV programmes from overseas markets to cater to changing audience tastes. Of note, ATV has bought in popular TV dramas from South Korea and Mainland China for broadcast in prime time.

Programmes on ATV Home

ATV has produced numerous classic TV dramas, including "Crocodile Tears" (鱷魚淚), "Fatherland" (大地恩情), "The Legendary Fok" (霍元甲), "Central Affairs I and II" (情陷夜中環) and "Reincarnated" (天蠶變). Recent productions of note include "The Pride Of Chao Zhou" (我來自潮州), "Who is the Winner?" (勝者為王), "King Of The Gambler" (千王之王重出江湖) and "The Good Old Days" (再見艷陽天).

In recent years, ATV has created and hosted certain large-scale award shows. The most well-known would probably be "The Annual Most Popular TV Commercial Awards" (十大電視廣告頒獎禮).

Other infotainment programmes like "Stories From Afar" (尋找他鄉的故事) ranked highly in the "Appreciation Index Survey Best Television Awards" (香港電視節目欣賞指數), as reflected by a public review.

Some ATV programmes, such as the entertainment news show "Hong Kong Today" (今日睇真D) and "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" (百萬富翁), have proved particularly popular, prompting local rival TVB to offer similar fare.

Drama series

A list of recent drama series produced by ATV:

* 1993: Shanghai Godfather II (再見黃埔灘 II 之再起風雲)
* 1994: Bays Of Being Parents (可憐天下父母心)
* 1994: Beauty Pageant (ATV) (鳳凰傳説)
* 1994: Secret Battle Of The Majesty (君臨天下)
* 1994: Outlaw Hero (法外英雄)
* 1995: Vampire Expert (僵屍道長)
* 1995: Pao Qingtian (a.k.a. Judge Bao) (包青天之公正廉明)
* 1996: The Little Vagrant Lady (飃零燕)
* 1996: King Of Gamblers (千王之王重出江湖)
* 1996: Vampire Expert II (僵屍道長II)
* 1996: Tales From The Dorms (坊間故事之甘戴綠頭巾)
* 1996: The Little Vagrant Lady II (飃零燕 II 之孤星淚)
* 1997: Year Of Chameleon (97 變色龍)
* 1997: Coincidentally (等著你回來)
* 1997: Pride Of Chaozhou (我來自潮州)
* 1997: Gold Rush (著數一族)
* 1998: Thou Shalt Not Cheat (呆佬賀壽)
* 1998: Heroine Of The Yangs (穆桂英大破天門陣)
* 1998: Heroine Of The Yangs II (穆桂英 II 十二寡婦征西)
* 1998: I Come From Guangzhou (我來自廣州)
* 1998: My Date with a Vampire (我和殭屍有個約會)
* 1999: Ten Tigers Of Guangdong (廣東十虎) co-produced with the Sanlih Network from Taiwan
* 1999: Flaming Brothers (縱橫四海)
* 2000: My Date with a Vampire 2 (我和殭屍有個約會II)
* 2000: Showbiz Tycoon
* 2001: To Where He Belongs
* 2001: Healing Hearts (俠骨仁心)
* 2002: Mission In Trouble
* 2004: Asian Heroes
* 2004: My Date with a Vampire 3 - the Eternal Legend (我和殭屍有個約會III之永恆國度)
* 2006: Walled Village
* 2006: Relentless Justice (AKA No Turning Back)
* 2008: Flaming Butterfly (火蝴蝶)

Programmes on ATV World

ATV World is one of two English-language channels that broadcast in Hong Kong. It offers a variety of programmes, mostly from the United States, ranging from popular serial dramas and films to documentaries and educational shows. Among the shows it has aired are "Ally McBeal" (甜心俏佳人), "Survivor" (生還者), "Smallville" (超人前傳), ' (滅罪鑑證科), "Elizabeth I" (伊利沙伯一世傳奇), ' (鑑證行動組), "Cold Case" (鐵證懸案), "" (鑑證紐約), "Grey's Anatomy" (醫人當自強), "The Closer" (真相追擊), "Doctor Who" (異世奇人) and "Ghost Whisperer" (靈感應)as well as the talk show "Late Show with David Letterman" (大衛牙擦騷). Arts and sports programming are also offered (e.g. local horse racing, in Chinese 賽馬直擊). Mandarin and Korean programmes are available on ATV World at off-peak hours.

ATV World's flagship English news programme is the "Main News and Weather Report at 7:30" provided under the collective effort of ATV News.

Given its focus on English-language programming in a predominantly Cantonese-speaking market, ATV World carries relatively little advertising and is subsidised by ATV Home. Both free-to-air television companies in Hong Kong are required by the government to provide an English-language service. In the face of competition from TVB Pearl, ATV World has in recent years switched focus from dramas and movies to documentaries and natural history shows, likely because such programming is less expensive to acquire.

ATV Training Institute

Asia Television Training Institute was founded to train people who are interested in joining the television industry. There are four faculties including television production, television artwork, television talent and technical production. Some of the graduates are offered work at ATV.


ATV recently had its license renewed for another 12 years. Under the terms of the licence renewal, the Broadcasting Authority required that ATV World provide bilingual subtitles on news, weather and current affairs shows, educational shows and emergency announcements, beginning in December 2004. The company was also required to provide more cultural and arts shows.

Major competitor

TVB was the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong, and was the initial driving force for the then RTV to switch to free wireless broadcasting from paid cable. It was established in 1967. The Group has now grown to a size of about 5,000, including contract artists and staff in overseas subsidiary companies. The viewership of TVB is usually much higher than that of ATV. TVB has an overwhelming advantage over ATV, mostly due to the entrenched viewing habits of the population -- the company has most local music stars under contract and its Cantonese-language service provides a steady stream of soap operas and undemanding entertainment programming.

Actor crossovers

TVB is known to typecast their performers, with some always given lead roles and others always given supporting roles. As such, certain actors have left TVB for ATV in hopes of better opportunities, although in most cases the crossover will mean a virtual end of an actor's career. The majority of the leading roles are actually given to veteran TVB actors. While some veteran TVB actors merely switch sides because their contract ended, some joined because they're offered better compensation and positions to veteran TVB actors. There were several known incidents where TVB had certain dramas planned and were forced to cancel or rewrite scripts because the star(s) of the role left for other opportunities and vice versa. While TVB also acquired ATV actors, the cross over is higher in frequency with TVB actors to ATV.

Current ATV personalities

* Jaclyn Chu
* Kenneth Chan - formerly TVB
* Pinky Cheung
* Hawick Lau - formerly TVB
* Gilbert Lam
* Jin Ling
* Teresa Mak Ka-ki
* William Chak
* Judy Tsang
* Derek To
* Karen Chan
* William Chow (actor)
* Lo Hoi Pang - formerly TVB
* Joyce Chen (actress) - formerly TVB
* Cynthia Ho
* Choi Kwok Wai
* Lulu Ng
* Nic Yan
* Kitty Wang
* Law Shek Yin
* Daryna Shevchenko
* Jerry Leung
* Wong Oi Yiu
* Chun Kai Wai
* Faye Tung
* Lam Wai - formerly TVB
* Baby Bo
* Billy Lau Nam Kwing - formerly TVB
* Bonnie Wong
* Idea Ng
* Huang Li Mei
* Amiko Wong
* Tsang Wai Ming
* Jessica Lee (actress)
* Philip Keung
* Cheng Shu Fung
* Kung To
* Kwan Wai Lun
* Fiona Yuen - formerly TVB
* Winnie Shum - formerly TVB
* Angel Ho - formerly TVB
* Amy Fan - formerly TVB
* Michael Tong - formerly TVB
* Rain Li - formerly TVB

Past ATV personalities

* Damian Lau 1981-1987, Freelance now
* Valerie Chow - no longer an actress
* Eddy Ko 1990-2000; has returned to TVB
* Michael Tao - 1999-2004; has returned to TVB
* Gallen Lo - 1983-1984; now at TVB
* Patricia Liu - formerly from TVB
* Annie Man - 1993-1999; now at TVB
* Michelle Ye 2005-?; now at TVB
* Thomas Lam
* Claire Yiu 1998-2004; now at TVB
* Lydia Sum 1990s; returned to TVB; deceased
* Sheren Tang 1995-1996; has returned to TVB


In recent years, viewing figures for ATV Home have fallen sharply, as the TV station has begun to cater more to the interests of the mainland Chinese audience, who can now legally receive the channel. Some Hong Kong viewers have complained that programmes aired on ATV Home are "old-fashioned" and not in tune with the preferences of the Hong Kong TV audience.

Moreover, news programmes broadcast by ATV are deemed by some observers to have taken on a pro-Beijing bias, reporting news involving pro-democracy political forces in Hong Kong in a negative light. (A short talk show on current affairs that airs after the six o'clock news frequently invites pro-Beijing advocates to air their views, often praising the PRC's policies and criticising pro-democratic parties, especially when these parties invoke a demonstration. There have since been other pro-democratic guests, but this does not balance out the pro-Beijing bias). TVB's news programming has been similarly criticised for its "pro-establishment" stance. Although the Hong Kong media has freedom of speech, self-censorship is commonly practised at media organisations whose owners have business interests in mainland China. A shift in ownership of ATV in mid-2006 sparked concern that ATV would become even more pro-Beijing.

For example, the pro-democracy July 1 marches usually makes the headline news on TVB, but ATV usually makes the pro-Beijing counter protests the headline news. ATV also attempts to dilute the pro-democracy message of the marches by saying the participants have different messages.

ee also

*Media in Hong Kong
*List of Hong Kong companies
*Television Broadcasts Limited - rival broadcaster


External links

* [ Official Site]
* [ Broadcast Authority]

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