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TVB, Hong Kong’s Top Broadcaster, to Lay-Off 300 Staff and Cut Channels

Television Broadcasts (TVB), long the dominant free-to-air TV operator in Hong Kong is to dismiss 300 staff, or 8% of its already reduced workforce, in a further cost cutting move.

The company said in a regulatory filing on Monday that it will shed 200 staff from its program production operations, merge two of its five channels and reduce its Zstore e-commerce business, with the loss of an additional 100 jobs.

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The moves, some of which require regulatory approval, are the second staff reduction to be announced this year. In March, TVB cut 255 employees, taking its headcount to 3,600 as of June.
TVB is proposing to merge its J2 channel (offering content and programs aimed at a young audience) with its TVB Finance, Sports & Information channel and to create TVB+.

The new channel will create “a diverse range of young audience content, including dramas and variety shows, sports, and informational programs.” It will also “link up free-to-air TV content with interactive content on our digital platforms such as myTV SUPER and TVB social media accounts.”

Financial news will no longer have a dedicated channel and, instead, content will be dissipated across the remaining channels Jade and TVB+ channels.

“We expect TVB+ will appeal to a larger combined audience than our current J2 and FSI channels, and thus also deliver a stronger value proposition to advertisers,” TVB said in the filing.

“We will reduce our production budgets for fringe-hour content and discontinue any programs that fall short of their desired audience or commercial impact. As a result, in addition to the HK$260 million ($33.3 million) of annual cost savings we announced in March 2023 and are on track to achieve by year-end 2023, we expect to save a further HK$100 million ($12.9 million) in content cost in 2024. At the same time, we will reduce headcount in this business unit by over 200 staff,” TVB explained.

“We will merge our current Ztore online platform with Neigbuy, with Ztore becoming an integral part of Neigbuy. Neigbuy stands out from traditional e-commerce platforms with its pre-sale model whereby customers order and pay for a product before Neigbuy purchases the stock. This model not only alleviates inventory pressure and reduces inventory holding risk, but also allows Neigbuy to adapt quickly to changing market dynamics and seize any new opportunities that arise,” TVB said.

The company has recorded five consecutive years of losses. These rose from HK$281 million in 2020 to HK$647 in 2021, to HK$807 million in 2022.

In the first half of 2023, losses were up again to HK$407 million ($51.9 million), an increase of 84% from HK$224 million.

The broadcaster reported a HK$406.7 million loss (US$51.89 million) in the first half of the year, an 81 per cent increase, or HK$224 million, compared with the same period in 2022, a e-commerce revenues suffered a post-pandemic retreat.

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