Roadshow is set to end its broadcasting of advertisements on the fleet of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB) in June, as the latter seeks a new advertising partner.

On Friday, Roadshow Holdings Ltd announced that it would not submit a tender for a KMB bus-television licence when its current licence expires on June 30.

Roadshow KMB bus
Photo: Wpcpey via Wikimedia Commons.

“The decision will allow the group to reallocate its resources to other more profitable segments of the group’s business,” said Roadshow. Last year, the advertising company recorded a loss of HK$46 million.

Earlier this month, KMB also told local media that it would hold a tender for its bus-television licence in June. The company declined to comment on other rumours regarding Roadshow.

KMB is one of three major bus companies in Hong Kong, alongside Citybus and New World First Bus. Buzplay is the provider of in-vehicle television advertising for the latter two companies.

Captive audience

Roadshow began broadcasting advertisements with KMB in 2000. Originally part of the KMB group, it was spun off as a listed company a year later.

The television advertisements are silent on the lower decks of buses. However, Roadshow has been the target of numerous complaints over the years for broadcasting advertisements too loudly on the upper decks, where it has a captive audience.

Earlier this year, the Transport Department had told legislators that Roadshow content would not be regulated by the Broadcasting Ordinance, because it was not broadcast toward any “specified premises” – meaning domestic premises or hotel rooms.

YouTube video

Some Hongkongers reacted happily to the end of Roadshow advertisements. “I can finally sleep on a long-distance bus… hopefully,” wrote one commenter on the Facebook page of Apple Daily.

Internet users embedded a countdown to Roadshow’s Chinese-language Wikipedia page, tracking the number of days remaining before its KMB advertisements are set to end.

However, other Facebook users warned that KMB could simply contract a new advertising company to provide similar services.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.