James Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of Hong Kong-based STAR TV, yesterday delivered a scathing attack on Taiwan's cable TV operators, which he said threaten the industry as a whole. \nSpeaking at the 22nd Asian Advertising Congress (AdAsia 2001 Taipei), Murdoch described Taiwan's cable TV distributors as "thugs and thieves -- bandits on the super highway." \n"Theft and resale of ad [space] coupled with the cartel-driven distribution model threatens the viability of broadcasters," he said. He also said that the potential for Asia's TV industry was threatened by short-sightedness and profiteering from within the industry, which includes ad-theft and under-reporting of subscriber numbers. \n"Distributors must get their act together and start to operate legitimate businesses for the whole industry to be successful," he said. \nThe speech outlined the obstacles standing in the way of the Asian TV industry over the next few years and focused heavily on the Indian and Taiwanese markets. \nSouth and Southeast Asia is in its infancy he said, "But you need only look at MSOs [multiple system operators] in the Philippines and India to see how pear-shaped it can all get. \nMurdoch pointed the finger at overly-cautious bureaucracies and research-centric marketers for hampering the growth of the industry in Asia. But Murdoch saved most of his criticism for Taiwan's MSOs, which receive and package programming for distribution to the end user. \nThe Taiwan TV industry is controlled by two rival conglomerates, the Koos Group and the Rebar Group, which have carved up more than two-thirds of the market into separate spheres with no overlap. \nSpeaking at a luncheon at the AdAsia Congress on Monday, STAR president and COO Bruce Churchill called on the industry to stamp out ad-theft which plagues the industry. The theft takes place via ad-masking, the practice where local operators insert their own, locally-sold ads over the network ads. "The practice is short-sighted ... nowhere in the world is this more rampant than in Taiwan. We are now in the ludicrous position of having to buy back our own ad time," he said. \nWhile STAR is criticizing the Taiwan cable industry, it is at the same time also lending Koos Group MSOs a total of US$200 million. \nDespite the fact that local industry bites the hand that feeds it, Murdoch said the loans had no preconditions attached requiring Koos operators to stop stealing ad space from STAR. The deal, which was brokered by Koos-owned broadband ISP GigaMedia, was signed in October last year and is part of STAR's overall strategy to move into the Greater China market, and includes the rollout of interactive TV in Taiwan.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations