Soccer enthusiasts can watch the FIFA World Cup on digital cable stations again, after ELTA TV authorized TVBS to broadcast the competition.
ELTA, who owns the exclusive rights to broadcast World Cup games in Taiwan, had authorized ERA TV to air the games on analog cable terrestrial and satellite TV channels. However, ELTA accused ERA of violating the terms by allowing the games to be aired on digital cable television channels.
ERA then sought a provisional injunction banning ELTA from stopping the transmission of the television signals before the tournament ends. However, ERA’s petition was overruled by the Taipei District Court on Thursday.
Following the court’s ruling, ELTA suspended the transmission of the signals to ERA at 12am on Friday, but said that fans can still watch the games on the Public Television Service (PTS) and TVBS channels as an interim arrangement before they locate another cable television network.
ELTA issued a statement late on Friday night that it had reached an agreement with TVBS that both will broadcast the remaining games until the championship game at midnight on July 14.
ERA Communications general manager Wu Chien-chiang (吳健強) apologized to viewers for the inconvenience caused by the incident. However, Wu said ERA could not accept ELTA’s stretching of the definition of digital cable television service, where the authorized content is prohibited. Wu said that the company merely sent out the signals, which the cable system operators receive and broadcast over set-top boxes.
“We paid a royalty of nearly NT$70 million [US$2.34 million] for a broadcasting right that essentially does not exist. We had made full payment before the games started,” Wu said. “We ask ELTA to consider the interests of the television viewers and reverse its decision.”
In response, ELTA said that it was ERA who broke the contract, and the company is using legal procedures to stop providing signals to ERA. It added that people can watch the games on PTS and TVBS, which covers viewers of both cable and broadcast TV.