Bright Future for 'NOW'

Hong Kong TV and Society Final Paper
Louise Pau

Write an essay exploring the relationship between Hong Kong television and society. You can write on TV industry, TV history, TV censorship, etc. you can also develop the weekly themes in our course.
In the light of rapidly evolving media industry and entertainment consumption patterns of Hong Kong people, how is NOW Broadband TV revolutionizing home entertainment?

Bright Future for NOW

Television as a form of mass media, has always garnered the attention of society since its development. The TV industry evolves according to the developments of the society. From a luxury item to an indispensible household item, television is deeply embedded in Hong Kong culture since the last century, and is a part of Hong Kong’s shared memory. In the 21st century, apart from social and economic changes, television is dictated by the speedy advancement of other forms of media and the innovation of technology.
Television in Hong Kong has undergone dramatic transformations. Out of the several free-to-air competitors, only two networks remain in operation today, namely Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) and Asia Television Limited (ATV). Both channels provide mostly locally produced shows at first but have gradually introduced foreign shows in their English-oriented channels. Till this day, TVB takes the lead in ratings and revenues. However, in the last decade, the mergence of two major pay TV channel providers (i.e. NOW TV, Cable TV) have shifted the dynamic of TV industry in Hong Kong. In addition, the rise and evolution of new media platforms for entertainment has prompted networks to re-assess their marketing strategies and programme contents in order to stay relevant in light of rapidly expanding virtual platforms and social networks.
This paper will briefly evaluate the social climate of Hong Kong and people’s preference and source of entertainment, talk about how the rise of Internet and social networks are altering people’s consumption patterns of television and mainly focus on the leading pay TV service provider – now TV (owned by PCCW) and analyze how it is adapting to this era of advanced technology. The paper will explore how PCCW has harnessed its technological superiority to provide subscribers with interactive programmes and used innovative marketing methods to expand its existing clientele despite of the gaining influence of the Internet as people’s main source of entertainment.
A few decades back, when technology was still maturing and computers aren’t as accessible as today, people in Hong Kong relied on the television as their main source of entertainment. Locally produced dramas and variety shows were well received among the working class and free-to-air networks thrived in this more simplistic environment. But stepping into the 21st century, with Hong Kong’s rising status as one of the world’s financial centers and the advancement of technology, the taste and preference of Hong Kong people have changed drastically.
There is a rise in number of white-collar workers, which also meant that there are more educated and Western-cultured people in Hong Kong who enjoy a higher standard of living and whose tastes are more sophisticated. However, free to air channels has done little to adapt and improve their programmes qualities to suit the preferences of white-collar population. ATV has always lagged behind TVB in ratings and has already shifted its focus on the Mainland Chinese audience. Even though TVB still has a lion’s share in TV audience, its programmes and shows’ quality have yet to improve compared to other pay TV networks.
Unable to cater for the demands of audience, television channels found themselves with declining ratings as people sought for other more flexible and convenient sources of entertainment. The rise of mobiles like Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy has dominated the markets and helped pave the way for the rise of Apple and Android markets, creating a whole new platform for social networking and entertainment (watching TV shows, mobile games). The popularity of Watsapp messenger also encouraged more and more people to subscribe for a mobile plan with Internet access, allowing a greater access to the internet on the whole. Facebook, Youtube and other social networking sites are also steering people away from the television. Television population is facing an aging problem due to the diverse sources of entertainment that are available to the younger generation. (CSM, 2011)
People, teenagers especially,