The Hong Kong Broadcasting Scene - 1 History

Broadcasting in Hong Kong started in 1928 with the establishment of the Radio Hong Kong. Hong Kong has since developed into a broadcasting hub of the Asia-Pacific region with various types of broadcasting services targeting local audience and viewers in four continents, viz. Asia, Australasia, Europe and Africa. The major milestones in the broadcasting history of Hong Kong are set out below.

Figure 1 : A Brief History of Broadcasting in Hong Kong

1928 The first radio station, Radio Hong Kong (now known as Radio Television Hong Kong), was founded.
1948 The first licence to operate a wired sound broadcasting service was granted to Rediffusion (Hong Kong) Limited (now known as Asia Television Limited).
1957 The first licence to operate a wired subscription television service was granted to Rediffusion. It began broadcasting in 1958.
1959 The first commercial wireless sound broadcasting licence was granted to Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company Limited (CRHK).
1965 The first licence to operate a wireless television broadcasting service was granted to Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB). The service commenced in 1967.
1972 Colour television transmission for the first time in Hong Kong by TVB.
1973 The second licence to operate a wireless television broadcasting service was granted to Rediffusion, ending its 15-year cable service.
1975 The third licence to operate a wireless television broadcasting service was granted to Commercial Television Limited. The service commenced in 1975 and ceased operation in 1978.
1987 The Authority was formed following the enactment of the Broadcasting Authority Ordinance (Cap. 391).
1990 The first satellite television uplink and downlink licence was granted to Hutchvision Hong Kong Limited (now known as Starvision Hong Kong Limited (Starvision)) to broadcast its 5 channels of STAR TV satellite TV service to 53 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The second sound broadcasting licence was granted to Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited (Metro).

Multi-language programmes using the NICAM system were introduced in Hong Kong.

1993 The initial subscription television broadcasting licence was granted to Wharf Cable Limited (now known as Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (HKCTV)).
1995 RTHK voluntarily undertook to comply with the programme codes issued by the Authority by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Authority and the then Recreation and Culture Branch.

The first programme service licence was granted to Hong Kong Telecom VOD Limited (now known as PCCW Media Limited (PCCW Media)) to launch the world's first commercial-scale video-on-demand programme service.

Public consultation was conducted on the 1998 Review of Television Policy with a view to opening up the TV market for competition and taking Hong Kong into the age of convergence.

1999 Star TV commenced digital broadcasting on its satellite TV platform.
2000 The Television Ordinance (Cap. 52) was repealed and replaced by the technology-neutral Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562) following the 1998 Review of Television Policy. Pay TV market was opened up with 4 new pay TV licences granted to Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting Limited (Galaxy), Hong Kong Network TV Limited (Network TV), TV Plus (Hong Kong) Corp. Limited (TV Plus) and Yes Television (Hong Kong) Limited (Yes TV). Network TV surrendered its licence in 2001 before launching its service.
2002 HKCTV started to introduce digital broadcasting on its MMDS and HFC networks.
Yes TV and TV Plus commenced service.
2003 PCCW Media was granted a domestic pay television programme service licence to launch a multi-channel pay TV service replacing its video-on-demand service.

Galaxy commenced its domestic pay television programme service.

Yes TV and TV Plus surrendered their licences.

The implementation framework for digital terrestrial television was promulgated by the Government, setting the date for introduction of digital terrestrial television in 2007.


1 History 2 The Broadcasting Landscape 3 Transmission Modes 4 Penetration of Different Broadcasting Services 5 Broadcasting revenues 6 Investment in TV Industry 7 Viewing Habits 8 Programme Sources 9 Programme Genres 10 Programmes and Channels for Minority Ethnic Groups in Hong Kong 11 New Advertising Modes 12 Compliance with Regulatory Requirements 13 Developments of Pay TV Services in Hong Kong 14 Hong Kong as a Regional Broadcasting Hub 15 Hong Kong as a Stepping Stone into the Mainland Market