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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

Amid internet advance, television holds its position as Hong Kong’s leading media segment, supported by OTT growth.


The internet sector does, however, closly follow as the region’s second most popular medium given internet usage continues to rise rapidly.


Hong Kong’s largest broadcaster, TVB, upgraded its OTT platform in June last year in a move that comes at a time when Hong Kong’s local terrestrial TV is in decline.


TVB is also co-producing drama series with Tencent Penguin Pictures and iQiyi, mainland China’s leading media organisations.


Speaking of the importance of the television sector, lawyers say existing broadcasting regulations fall far behind industry development, with the law introduced 17 years ago.

Practitioners say the scale of multimedia convergence requires legislative update. Market participants call for changes to restrictive media rules on foreign ownership control.


In other developments, the Hong Kong government highlights the importance of IoT and its role in market growth.


Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung, the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, said at the national IoT Conference, “What the government is most interested in is putting IoT applications to popular use by the community, and stimulating further development of industries and our economy.”

TIER 1

Baker McKenzie has in-depth knowledge of the entertainment, communications and e-commerce industries. The team has exceptional experience advising on legal and commercial matters, including complex technology licensing and regulatory issues, cross-border mergers and acquisitions and outsourcing. Practice leader Milton W. M. Cheng works closely with key practitioner Anna L. Gamvros who is well regarded nationally.


Bird & Birds media group includes sports and digital business as core focus areas. The TMT practice also works with multiple mobile game publishers. Head of division Justin Walkey, who has been based in Hong Kong since 2012, works closely with Michelle Chan on local and regional cases with commercial, regulatory and intellectual property aspects. The team also advises on corporate and transactional matters.


Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is “able to deliver reliable, punchy and responsive advice and execute our deals within deadlines” noted one client. The firm is highlighted favourably by clients who also describe the team as responsive and knowledgeable. Department head Jeanette Chan is praised for “going the extra mile to make deals happen”.


TIER 2

Working with clients from the creative industries, Deacons has particular experience advising on recording and publishing arrangements, agency and management contracts, distribution and co-production. Led by Charmaine Koo, the team also advises on the purchase, financing and restructuring of media companies.


The intellectual property and commercial practice of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer works across a range of commercial and transactional projects. Head of the firm’s Asia practice Richard Bird advises on contentious intellectual property matters, e-commerce and internet-related cases. The team also assists with privacy matters, advertising and regulation.  


Haldanes acts for overseas record companies, television and film production companies, event promoters and artists. Under the leadership of John McLellan, who manages the commercial, media and entertainment practice, the team assists with financing, licensing and distribution and artist and talent agreements. Other areas of emphasis include sports and theatrical productions, advertising and copyright.


Hogan Lovells acts for entertainment companies, broadcasters and investors. The team is known for its exceptional knowledge of media regulation and copyright licensing. Lawyers also provide telecommunications regulatory advice in cases involving acquisitions in China and Hong Kong. Managing partner Owen Chan leads the TMT practice, which also represents gaming and e-commerce companies.   


Morrison & Foerster primarily advises on business transactions and disputes involving copyrightable materials. Lawyers regularly work with clients from the entertainment industry on all aspects of copyright protection and management. While advising on multimedia products, the team also works closely with clients from the film, theatre, music and publishing segments.  


Data privacy and cyber security specialist Squire Patton Boggs advises on commercial agreements, international data protection and litigation. Led by James S. Tsang the team assists local and regional clients with international business. Lawyers also advise on regulatory policy and legislative issues affecting public and private sector clients.


TIER 3

King & Wood Mallesons focusses on the sports and TMT sectors. The multidisciplinary team routinely advises on commercial, regulatory and outsourcing transactions. The team assists clients with joint ventures, private equity investments and handles dispute resolution.


TIER 4

The media team at Stephenson Harwood advises on regulatory and outsourcing transactions. Led by managing partner Voon Keat Lai, the team advises on corporate matters including IPOs and work closely with the firm’s commercial practice group, providing cross-practice advice. The team also assists with intellectual property licensing.

Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

Baker McKenzie

Bird & Bird

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison


TIER 2

Deacons

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Haldanes

Hogan Lovells

Morrison & Foerster

Squire Patton Boggs  


TIER 3

King & Wood Mallesons

Norton Rose Fulbright

Pinsent Masons

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Vivien Chan & Co.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges


TIER 4

Herbert Smith Freehills

Liu, Shen & Associates

Mayer Brown JSM

Simmons & Simmons

Stephenson Harwood


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