What can we watch on Macau TV channel?
By Helen Ji
Do you know how many television stations there are in your hometown? And can you name anyone of them?
These seem to be easy questions. However, they may be difficulties for Macau residents.
“It was strange and amazed me that few local people watched the programs on their local TV channel”, recalled Bianca Zheng, a Year 4 student from Beijing majoring in Portuguese in University of Macau (UM), when she first found out most of her local classmates pay little attention to their local TV programs.
Actually this problem existed all along. According to a survey conducted by Teledifusão De Macau S.A. (TDM) and erstwhile Statistics and Census Bureau of Macau in the end of 1998, 97 percent of the local interviewees replied that they were used to watching Hong Kong TV programs. Meanwhile, TDM, the only television station in Macau before 2002, was always in the trouble of financial losses. Until 2007, it started to change. In accordance with a report of MC838, a Macau online forum, Stanley Ho, the chairman of the board of TDM, expressed his delight for TDM’s first profit on March 26, 2008. However, deducting MOP 73 million of government subsidy, TDM still faced more than MOP 72.9 million of economic losses, which proved again that Macau TV industry had not gone out of adversity.
Even under such kind of situation, Lotus TV station and MASTV station were still successively set up in Macau in 2002 and 2004.
“Small market and few human resources are the main impediments to Macau TV industry’s development,” Shi Wei, the director of MASTV, remarked, “however, I’m pleased that Macau has become a spotlight in the world for opening gaming market and attracting the foreigners’ investment in recent years.”
“More and more people want to know Macau,” Shi continued, “obviously, Macau has become a platform and is good for us to target much more audience.”
Comparing with TDM’s long-standing problem, Lotus TV station and MASTV station should be new blood infused into Macau. Since their establishments, some new programs such as the business news of Lotus TV and the political commentary of MASTV started to emerge in Macau. However, so far there has not yet been a program which can be representative of Macau to impress the audience of other regions.
Hong Kong (HK) has been named “Oriental Hollywood” not only for its movie production but also for its soup operas made by the Television Broadcast Limited (TVB).
In addition, more and more people heard about Hu Nan province not only for its glorious history, but also for its TV programs made by its local television station such as the famous singing competition named Supergirl, which did not only grasp the attention of the audience in mainland China, but also pushed the brand of “Hu Nan television station” into HK and Taiwan.
“It is necessary for Macau to show its unique features through TV programs or films in order to change Macau’s image from being just a 'gaming city' and make people of other regions understand Macau,” said Edmund Ho Hau Wah, the Chief Executive of Macau Special Administrative Area (MSAR), in the opening ceremony of a social group named Macau Media Alliance in March 2008.
Comparing with HK’s TVB and Hu Nan television station, Macau TV industry seemingly has a long way to go.