Hong Kong’s TVB Repairs Music Industry Ties, Prepares to Launch Variety Shows

Television Broadcasts, Hong Kong’s leading TV group, is set to boost its variety and music programs following a recent management reshuffle. It aims to bring back veteran entertainers who have experience and profile on the mainland Chinese market in order that the station can expand its foothold in the Greater Bay Area.

The new appointments come after a difficult year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to TVB’s 2020 interim report, the broadcaster suffered a 69% year-on-year decline in advertising income for the broadcasting segment in the first half of the past year, resulting in a loss of HK$515 million ($66.3 million).

Eric Tsang, the award-winning actor, filmmaker and show host, has re-joined TVB as deputy GM of the largest free-to-air TV station in Hong Kong. He leads the broadcaster’s non-drama, music program and production section. Comedian Wong Cho-nam, a TVB veteran, was named chief creative officer.

Tsang’s first task was to rebuild the broadcaster’s relationships with the three major music labels in the city — Universal Music Hong Kong, Sony Music Entertainment Hong Kong and Warner Music Hong Kong. The broadcaster had faced ongoing disputes lasting over a decade with the record companies over copyrights and royalties. As a result, pop singers under these labels were barred from performing on the TV station forcing TVB to focus on cultivating its own singers marketed under its own Voice Entertainment label.

TVB said in a recent announcement that it will collaborate with the three record companies, with an understanding that singers under these labels will be able to perform on the TV station again. The broadcaster will also allow these singers to perform on other TV stations and platforms — a groundbreaking change as TVB previously insisted on exclusive terms.

The announcement was seen as TVB’s first step to strengthen its music programming. Tsang also said that singers under Voice Entertainment will still have opportunities to perform.

The broadcaster is cooking up several new variety programs which are expected to be announced towards the end of March, Variety has learned. It will present a line-up of drama and other program titles at FilMart.

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