Taiwan’s Next TV station, established by Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英), showed new determination yesterday to reach a wider local audience despite repeated failures to obtain an operating license for its news channel from the government media watchdog.
Next TV was to give away 2,000 TV set-top boxes with a combined value of NT$6 -million (US$202,800) to a long line of people waiting in the cold and rain in Taipei yesterday before the TV station officially opens on Tuesday.
To help raise publicity, Next TV has been running a series of TV commercials in recent days in which Lai is portrayed as being pregnant, suggesting that he is about to give birth to the Next TV station.
Next TV has been broadcasting news and entertainment programs on the Internet since July after the National Communications Commission (NCC) rejected several license applications from the company since late last year because of concerns about the sensationalism of its animated news.
Next TV nevertheless won approval for movie and sports channels earlier this year.
In an animated video played at a press briefing, Next TV mocked the NCC for “not giving licenses to those it doesn’t like.”
The TV station’s chairman, Chu Wah-hui (朱華煦), said a new application was submitted to the NCC late last month and that the -company is still waiting for a reply.
Next TV has already issued invitations to subscribers of the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper and Next Magazine, both of which are owned by Lai, for the free set-top boxes.
Asked how many will be given away, Chu declined to offer a specific number, although media reports put the number at nearly 80,000.
Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) of the NCC said the council will monitor Next TV’s programs and will take action if any of them break the law.