LCQ9: Sports programmes provided by RTHK and free TV broadcasters
Following is a question by the Hon Ma Fung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, in the Legislative Council today (May 25):
There are views that both the two existing free-to-air television stations and Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) seldom broadcast local sports tournaments or produce sports programmes, making it difficult for members of the public to obtain sports information and watch local tournaments. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of sports television programmes broadcast by RTHK last year, together with their respective names, numbers of episodes, number of hours of broadcast, as well as their broadcasting time (set out in a table);
(2) whether RTHK will produce more sports television programmes and increase the numbers of hours of sports television programmes broadcast in the coming year; if RTHK will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) whether RTHK will broadcast live or recorded local sports tournaments (e.g. football and basketball matches) through its digital television programme channels and analogue television programme channels in the coming year; if RTHK will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(4) of the reasons why the two existing domestic free television programme service licences do not require the licensees to broadcast a specified number of hours of sports programmes; whether the Government will include such a requirement when issuing new licences or renewing the licences in future and require a specified proportion of the sports programmes to cover local tournaments, so as to provide more opportunities for members of the public to gain access to sports information and local tournaments; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(5) whether it has taken measures to encourage the two free-to-air television stations to broadcast local sports tournaments live and produce more sports programmes; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Our reply to the five-part question is as follows:
(1) Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has always been producing sports programmes. In 2015-16, RTHK produced an English version of the programme "Glamour of Sport – Strive for the Best in Incheon Asian Games" (the original version was aired at an earlier time) in five episodes, totalling 7.5 hours of air time including re-runs. Moreover, RTHK has produced various programmes that included sessions on exercises suitable for people of different age groups. In one such programme entitled "Smart Elderly on the Go" totalling four hours of air time, there was a session that introduced and demonstrated exercises suitable for the elderly. Also, in each of the 13 episodes of the programme "Health and Wealth", totalling two hours of air time, a three-minute session "No-Time Workout" introducing exercises that could be done anytime anywhere was featured. In the past year, the above programmes were aired a number of times in various time slots on RTHK TV 31, and the English version of "Glamour of Sport – Strive for the Best in Incheon Asian Games" was also aired on TVB Pearl.
(2) RTHK is actively exploring the feasibility of increasing the production and broadcast of sports-related programmes. To tie in with the Olympic Games to be held in Brazil in August 2016, the new RTHK programmes that are under preparation will include themes that support local Olympic athlete participants to promote the persevering and unremitting spirit of Hong Kong. RTHK has acquired overseas documentaries featuring the stories of athletes around the world who have won their medals by virtue of their diligence, hard work and tenacity, as well as the experience of gold-medal coaches who have led their teams to overcome numerous obstacles. With more than 10 hours of air time in total, the above programmes will be broadcast a number of times on the RTHK TV channels.
(3) RTHK TV channels are still at the development stage. Subject to its existing capacity and availability of resources, RTHK will adopt a gradual and orderly approach to explore the feasibility of expanding its scope of service, including live broadcast or re-broadcast of local sports events.
(4) & (5)The domestic free television programme service (free TV) licence stipulates that a licensee shall inform, educate and entertain the audience and provide a diversified and balanced service to meet the different needs of the community. To achieve this, Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) and HK Television Entertainment Company Limited (HKTVE) are currently required under their free TV licences to provide a minimum amount of positive programmes, including news, arts and culture programmes, and programmes for children and senior citizens, etc. As for other programmes, in line with the need to uphold the editorial independence and market-driven approach in the regulation of free TV services, the Government and the Communications Authority (CA) consider that they should not interfere with the editorial decisions and programme scheduling of the broadcasters.
It is noted that at present, the two free TV broadcasters (TVB and HKTVE) provide sports programmes in different time slots every week. For example, according to the information available, the two TV broadcasters provide a total of 14.1 hours of sports programmes within the week of May 2 to 8, 2016. Details of the programmes are set out in the table at Annex.
In 2014, the CA conducted a territory-wide survey to collect public views on the free TV services. In the free TV survey, nearly 84 per cent of the respondents considered the sports programmes offered by the broadcasters sufficient in quantity or they had no comment. Only 16 per cent found them insufficient. Therefore, the CA considers that the present arrangement of not requiring a free TV broadcaster to broadcast sports programmes should be maintained.
If the CA receives public views on the broadcasting arrangements for sports programmes of free TV broadcasters, the CA will convey them to the relevant broadcasters for consideration, expecting them to take into account public views in formulating programme strategies, so that their broadcasting services will better meet the expectations and needs of the public.
Furthermore, according to the Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong hosts a number of "M" Mark major sports events every year. In the course of preparation and organisation, the Government will encourage the organisers to co-operate with the local media, including free TV broadcasters and online media, in arranging live broadcast to enable a greater number of people to watch these locally held major sports events.
Ends/Wednesday, May 25, 2016