Thu, May 24, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Proper funding urged for HDTV

SUPPORT:The NCC said British and Japanese public broadcasters have succeeded with their HD channels because they get stable funding from their governments

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday urged the Ministry of Culture to fund the operations of the Public Television Service’s (PTS) high-definition (HD) channel.

The call for more funding for the nation’s first HD channel in a terrestrial TV network came following the commission’s decision to grant the channel a permit to install the infrastructure for an HD channel after four years of trial operations.

“The BBC and NHK can succeed because they have stable funding,” commission spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said. “So we hope that the administrative authorities in charge of PTS can support the HD channel with the designated budget.”

PTS was controlled by the Government Information Office, which ceased to exist on Sunday, and responsibility for the network was transferred to the ministry. According to the commission, PTS submitted the application for an official broadcasting license for an HD channel on Feb. 15, as the license for the channel’s trial operations was scheduled to expire on Tuesday last week.

Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), deputy director of the commission’s operational management department, said that the commission had been reluctant to approve the application because the license would allow PTS to operate the HD channel for nine years, but the plan submitted by PTS lacked details on how it plans to fund its operations and offer HD programs.

Huang said that the commission decided to approve the license application after it had provided more details.

“We hope that a detailed operational plan would help PTS secure more funding from its administrative authority in charge,” Huang said, referring to the ministry.

Huang added that PTS still needs to provide additional information before it can secure the operational license for the HD channel. As the bellwether of the nation’s HD programs, PTS is required to show how it plans to differentiate programming on its HD channel from that on the public broadcaster’s main channel. When it offers personnel training on producing HD programs, the courses must be open to personnel from other television stations as well.

PTS should also have plans to produce programs reflecting demographic changes, such as the increasingly ageing population, he said.

Wong said PTS had planned to fund its operations in three stages. Between next year and June 2015, the network plans to spend about NT$448 million (US$15.2 million) annually on the HD channel to cover the production and personnel costs. From July 2015 to June 2018, NT$600 million would be spent annually to fund the channel. Between July 2018 and June 2021, the fund would increase to NT$876 million per year.

In addition, PTS said it would spend NT$90 million annually to improve equipment for the HD channel.

Huang said PTS should be able to secure the official broadcasting license before the London Olympics begin in July, as the channel has been in trial operations for four years.

In related news, Videoland TV’s variety channel was fined NT$200,000 for violating the TV rating system during a talk show episode hosted by entertainer Matilda Tao (陶晶瑩).

In one of the episodes, the program invited guests to talk about their sexual experiences and featured some sex toys.

“It [the talk show] is labeled as a general rating program,” said Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the commission’s broadcasting contents department. “But the content in question could impair the physical and mental health of children and juveniles.”

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