Commercial Television
Commercial Television (Chinese:
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 佳藝電視) was the third free-to-air
Free-to-air describes television and radio services broadcast in clear form, allowing any person with the appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription or one-off fee...

 broadcast television station in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

. It first went on air in 1975, and ceased transmissions in 1978.


In 1973, the Hong Kong Government decided to issue licenses for additional terrestrial television broadcasters, ending TVB's six-year monopoly as the sole free-to-air television company in Hong Kong. A group of shareholders formed a consortium (Commercial Television) to contest the license; the six major shareholders were Commercial Radio
Commercial Radio Hong Kong
Commercial Radio Hong Kong , aka Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company Limited is one of only two commercial radio broadcasting companies in Hong Kong along with Metro Radio Hong Kong. It contains a balanced array of entertainment including informative, educational, arts and cultural programmes...

, Jardines
Jardines can refers to:* Jardines SA - a sports club in Hong Kong* Jardine Matheson Holdings - a multinational corporation that is incorporated in Bermuda...

, Sing Tao Daily
Sing Tao Daily
The Sing Tao Daily is Hong Kong's second largest Chinese language newspaper. It is owned by Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, of which Charles Ho Tsu Kwok is the chairman. Its English language sister paper is The Standard...

, Wah Kiu Yat Pao, Industrial and Commercial Daily, and the Lam family (one of the founders of Hang Seng Bank
Hang Seng Bank
Hang Seng Bank Limited is the second largest bank in Hong Kong. It is a listed company but it is majority owned by the HSBC Group via The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Hang Seng is also one of the constituent shares of the Hang Seng Index...


The licenses were awarded on 10 August, with Rediffusion Television
Rediffusion Television
Rediffusion Television was the first television station in Hong Kong, established on May 29, 1957, making it both the first British colony and the first predominantly Chinese city to have television...

 receiving licenses for two television stations (one broadcasting in Cantonese and the other in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

), while Commercial Television only received one license for a station broadcasting in Cantonese.

The station launched at 6:00pm on 7 September 1975. Its logo was a hexagon formed from six angled lines, representing the Six Arts
Six Arts
The Six Arts formed the basis of education in ancient Chinese culture. During the Zhou Dynasty , students were required to master the "liù yì" :# Rites# Music# Archery# Charioteering# Calligraphy# Mathematics...

 in Confucian philosophy, as well as the six major stakeholders.

Part of the station's licensing conditions was to air two hours of educational programming on every weeknight, with no commercial interruptions. Such programming on the station was primarily oriented at adults, covering topics such as automechanics, interior design, and foreign languages. The station struggled to break even as a result of this requirement. An attempt was made to resurrect the ailing station in July 1976 when Selina Chow
Selina Chow
Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, GBS OBE JP was a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. She was the former vice-chairman of the Liberal Party . She is also well-known in Hong Kong for her career in broadcasting.An alumnus of St...

, then Assistant General Manager of TVB was drafted in to be its new General Manager. A significant amount of money was spent on producing drama series; The number of staff trebled, and the cash-burn rate escalated under Chow.

On 22 August 1978, the station announced it was ending its operations, its 800 staff were laid off and the company was declared bankrupt on 19 October. Following the station's collapse, the government concluded that a third commercial television station "did not appear viable". It never re-issued the license, and TVB and Rediffusion Television (now Asia Television
Asia Television Limited
Asia Television Limited is one of the two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong, the other being rival Television Broadcasts Limited . It launched in 1957 under the name Rediffusion Television as the first television station in Hong Kong...

) remained a duopoly of terrestrial TV broadcasters in Hong Kong.

Much blame flew around about the reasons for the failure. The Government was blamed for restrictive conditions of the license; the management was blamed for bad program scheduling and failing to control cost escalation; shareholders were blamed for having the short-term mentality of property developers. However, the Government blamed the collapse on the unwillingness of the shareholders to inject more capital, after it had spent its entire HK$
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

 20 million within one year.

The station's building on Broadcast Drive
Broadcast Drive
Broadcast Drive is a road in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. The road is notable as it is only 1 km long but having played host to all five broadcasting outlets in Hong Kong at one point in the 1970s, and the hill on which the road is located was known in Chinese as Ng Toi Shan during that time...

 was briefly used by TVB as a studio building, until it became RTHK's Television House in 1987.
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