TVB’s mainland shareholder criticizes programs, rejects accusations of bias in news

Published (HKT): 2021.04.08 06:45
Aerial shot and exterior shot of TVB City at 77 Chun Choi Street, Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate.

Mainland Chinese tycoon Li Ruigang has spoken out about his dissatisfaction with TVB, the Hong Kong broadcaster in which he is a major shareholder, and stressed the need for reform in the company.

In an interview with Sing Tao, Li criticized TVB’s aging programming lineup and outdated production technology, describing the previous ten years as a “lost decade” for the broadcaster.

Li did, however, add that he had no intention of selling his shares in TVB, saying that the broadcaster had enough capital to deter any takeover bids from other companies.

TVB’s 2020 financial results showed a HK$281 million (US$36.1 million) deficit, marking the third year in a row that the company recorded a loss.

Li said that he would not only look at results and the company’s share price but at the whole situation, pointing out that TVB’s performance had been affected by external factors, such as the 2019 social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Li defended the fairness of TVB’s news department, which came under fire for alleged pro-government bias during Hong Kong’s period of social tumult. Netizens called for advertisers to boycott TVB, a trend that Li said had not stopped even though the unrest had subsided.

Li said that the revenue from some major advertisers, which had originally amounted to over HK$10 million, had dropped to zero.

He added that netizens’ targeting of TVB advertisers was illegal, and he hoped that authorities would take the necessary preventative measures.

Li said that there was a need for more creative programs, which could, for example, highlight stories of mainland youths getting rich, so as to inspire young viewers in Hong Kong. He added that this would not be regarded as propaganda.

Li has been described as China’s Rupert Murdoch and has a large presence in the mainland’s cultural and entertainment sector. He currently serves as chairman of CMC Holdings.

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