Hong Kong broadcasting giant TVB dives into Taobao livestreams

Through its subsidiary TVBC, Hong Kong broadcasting giant Television Broadcasts Limited (also known as TVB) has reached a cooperation agreement with Taobao, China’s largest digital retail platform. Together, the two parties have agreed to jointly develop more than 48 e-commerce live streams within the year, which is expected to bring in millions of dollars.

On March 7, TVB’s e-commerce account “TVB Zhihuo” hosted its first Taobao live-streaming show with a group of TVB artists. In the debut show, TVB stars Moses Chan Ho and Sharon Chan Man-chi showcased local products in Hong Kong from food to cosmetics and other daily necessities in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Within the first six hours of its live broadcast, TVB managed to generate 23.5 million RMB (3.37 million USD) in sales and raked up 4.9 million views in the process.

With such staggering sales results, the major Hong Kong broadcaster hopes that e-commerce live streaming can serve as a new source of revenue for the company, whose popularity has waned in the past decade as homegrown industries and foreign dramas gained wider appeal. The company’s foray into Taobao comes at a time when TVB is seeking alternative ways of gaining revenue amid years of operating deficits and increasing competition.

As such, by inviting famous celebrities from hit Hong Kong dramas to its live streams, the broadcast company evokes nostalgia through classic movies to attract more viewers. While many fans are thrilled, not all viewers are completely sold on the durability of the company’s new strategy. In fact, some questioned whether such tactics would help the company regain its footing.

“It’ll be hard to maintain the growth and it’s not conducive to the artists’ careers in the long term when they lose their sense of mystery in front of the audience,” one Weibo user wrote.

Despite the scepticism, Peng Mingye, President of TVB subsidiary TVBC, remains confident that the move to Taobao will help the company “grab a cake in the huge live-streaming e-commerce industry in mainland China”.


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