Hong Kong’s PCCW launches $38m production fund

Hong Kong-based telco PCCW has created a production fund worth HK$300 million (US$38 million) as it gears up to launch a free TV network.

The Independent Production Fund will be used for the acquisition of local productions and to finance local productions, the company has revealed. In particular, PCCW wants to develop around 60 titles comprising miniseries and TV movies, plus reality series, variety shows and lifestyle formats.

This comes just weeks after PCCW, which operates an IPTV service, was awarded initial approval one of two new free domestic TV licences, with the other going to iCable Communications.

PCCW plans to invest HK$1.3 billion in the new service, out of which the IDF cash will come. The company is billing the fund “as a start” and “is open to further phases in the future upon a favorable response”.

The fund “aims to draw together the local creative industry and independent producers who share the same vision of bringing viewers more quality choices in TV programs,” the company said.

“We recognise the merits of creating a healthy independent production industry, as it encourages and fosters creativity of talents working across TV, film, and music, in order to bring upon the best and new formats of TV programs to viewers,” added PCCW’s managing director, TV and new media, Janice Lee.

“Our fund provides an open platform to enable them to unleash their potential which will in turn elevate the standards of the local television industry while satisfying viewers’ need for more quality TV program choices.”

Selection criterion include originality, creativity, production and content quality and viability. Upon confirmation of a show’s production budget, PCCW will “facilitate and support the production process drawing upon our production experience and facilities resources where necessary”.

The company aims to answer each proposal within 60 days of receipt.

PCCW said it has already discussed reality, documentary, talk show and “series from renowned directors” about the fund, with several announcements expected before the end of the year. Proposals can be sent directly to Mamie Leung, PCCW’s senior VP, content development, TV and new media here.