HK's oldest free broadcaster ATV goes off air

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-04-02 16:41:01

HK's oldest free broadcaster ATV goes off air


Hong Kong's embattled Asia Television (ATV) shut down midnight Friday, ending its 59 years of broadcasting service.

After broadcasting its final program, a rerun of the 2013 Miss Asia Pageant, ATV bid farewell to its audience by showing a card on the screen at 11:59 p.m.

People went to ATV's headquarters in Tai Po on Friday to take pictures and witness the last moment of the broadcaster. A local resident surnamed Ma said she has been ATV's viewer for decades and will watch it until the end.

ATV's senior public affairs manager Jeff Wong told the media that he believed the station will find alternative ways to operate, by for example, providing internet TV services. However, that will be subject to the decision of the broadcaster's investors.

On April 1, 2015, the Hong Kong government decided not to renew ATV's free-to-air TV license. Its license expires on April 1 as according to the law, a 12-month notice period is to be given for the non-renewal decision.

The Public Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), which took over ATV's two analogue channels, launched a television broadcast at 12:00 p.m. Saturday after ATV ceased its signals.

Launching as Rediffusion Television in 1957, ATV was a pioneer of entertainment in Hong Kong's broadcasting history.

The station is said to have experienced its "golden era" in 1980s. However, in late 1990s, it was hit by a financial crisis after experiencing several ownership shifts.

In early March, ATV's provisional liquidator Deloitte dismissed the remaining 400 employees as it was unable to reach an agreement with ATV's new investor, Si Rongbin.

The Television Broadcast or TVB has left to be the only TV channel providing free-to-air programs in Hong Kong.

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