Taiwanese TV stations may face tsunami of bankruptcies this year

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Vintage TV set (Image from pexels.com)

Vintage TV set (Image from pexels.com)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Last year's massive layoffs by SET TV (三立電視), one of Taiwan's largest television stations, sent shock waves through the industry, leading veterans to predict a tidal wave of TV company bankruptcies this year.

Indeed profits so far this year have only been 1/3 of the same time last year, or a drop of about NT$300 million (US$9,800,000), reports UDN.

Due to lack of self-generated content, Kuo Chien-hung (郭建宏), who took over as general manager of CTS (Chinese Television System, 中華電視公司), announced the purchase of two TV dramas from SET TV. It has recently been reported that TTV (Taiwan Television Enterprise, 臺灣電視公司) and CTV (China Television, 中視新聞台) are also planning on purchasing Taiwanese dramas, as producing their own content is no longer profitable.

CTV also announced at its board meeting that it would start a hiring freeze. In addition, though SET was a proud winner of the best marketing and public relations awards in the past, it announced it is drawing down its staff numbers, and will shift more content to a new streaming platform called VIDOL.

In contrast, when it comes to new media, whether its the hit HBO backed show "The Teenage Psychic" (通靈少女) or CHOCO TV, both are white hot and continue to lure investment. A single episode of The Teenage Psychic costs over NT$3 million, not including publicity and marketing.

CHOCO TV, a online streaming platform that incorporates dramas and shows from across Asia, also announced that it will be tripling its budget for its self-made dramas. Within the next six months, CHOCO TV plans on shooting more than 11 dramas.

Meanwhile, traditional TV stations are cutting back on self-produced content, not only because of the downturn in profitability, but also because of the change in viewing habits to mobile devices, the stale subject matter being broadcast, the large number of stations, and the slow reaction of the old networks to the rapid change in the industry.