Fri, May 11, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Protecting viewers’ rights

More than 750,000 cable television subscribers in Taoyuan, Taichung and Hsinchu and Miaoli counties have been deprived of their viewing rights since Friday last week, when cable TV providers under the umbrella of Taiwan Broadcasting Communications ceased carrying one of Formosa Television’s news channels without prior warning.

Do viewers have to put up with cable system providers breaking up channel allocations as they see fit? Do they really have no other choice, as has long been the case? If they have to wait for the National Communications Commission to impose a fine of NT$100,000 to NT$1 million (US$3,348 to US$33,476), it would take too long to be of any use.

Some subscribers are so infuriated that they say they will cancel their subscriptions, and rightly so. Canceling one’s subscription, breaking the chains and choosing digital convergence media is a great way for consumers to strike back from a disadvantageous position.

Netflix, the US’ biggest video streaming platform, now has more subscribers than cable television service providers, marking a new milestone in the rivalry between video streaming and traditional television channels.

This year, Netflix expects its subscribers to generate US$15 billion in annual revenue.

From the Netflix tide, one can foresee that Taiwan’s cable television services are not irreplaceable and will not stay dominant forever.

In Taiwan the multimedia on demand (MOD) service is a digital convergence platform that is provided via the Internet. MOD has broken free of monopoly control, and people can use it to watch FTV, NextTV and several other news channels.

It is like the end of the ban on independent newspapers that was imposed under martial law. When the ban was lifted, readers were no longer restricted to reading the three major papers, and this enabled people to broaden their horizons.

There are about 5.22 million cable television subscribers and 5.71 million broadband Internet accounts in Taiwan, but compared with watching traditional cable television, added-value digital convergence applications that could be provided over broadband have yet to become widespread.

They are an untapped market, or “blue ocean” that exists because of the asymmetry of the digital divide.

Wu Pai-hsun

Kaohsiung

Kuan isn’t fine

Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) is not fine. If he were fine, he would have been the president of the National Taiwan University (NTU) more than three months ago and he would not be crying in front of television cameras nowadays.

When Kuan was elected as president, some questions were raised, such as why he did not mention his position as an independent director of a company in his resume, why another director of the same firm was on the selection committee and why one of his papers in many places is identical to those in a paper by another author.

In response, Kuan arrogantly and snobbishly said: “I am fine!”

The general public thinks Kuan is acting like a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member who thinks he is above the law or a high-class mainlander, rather than a future role model for NTU students, faculty and employees.

The pro-Kuan group, consisting of mainly KMT members, insists on university autonomy and no political involvement.

However, KMT legislators intruded into the minister of education’s office possibly for the first time in history. Many former KMT government officials, including former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), demonstrated on the NTU campus. NTU students were forced out of the campus and at least one was attacked by a retired diplomat.

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