“Television permeates every social strata. Television watching is part of daily life for the overwhelming majority of people,” he said.
“There is such uproar because people are frustrated and angry that the government dampened their hopes,” he said.
Former HKTV screenwriter Danny Chan, one of hundreds who lost their jobs after the firm failed to secure a license, vented his anger.
“The fact that the government is not giving a license to a newcomer only shows that it is not fulfilling its promise on revitalizing creative industries,” Chan said.
“It is impossible to increase competitiveness when the sector is dominated by a few,” he added.
Hong Kong’s free-to-air TV has been dominated by incumbents TVB and Asia Television for the past 30 years. In its heyday it was a training ground that nurtured local talent and also provided a career stepping stone for future international stars such as Chow Yun-fat (周潤發), Tony Leung (梁朝偉) and Andy Lau (劉德華). However, in recent years the sector has been criticized as being tired and lacking talent.
“It was also popular culture that brought a sense of identity of Hong Kong in the past. It was also influential in the region,” Chan said.
“In recent years, the sector has stagnated. People were expecting a new driving force that can bring us back to those glory days until their hopes were quashed,” Chan added.