Mon, Jan 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NCC arbitrates in TBC, Formosa TV dispute

TEMPORARY FIX:When Formosa TV expanded its terms, TBC asked the National Communications Commission to weigh in, which resulted in a plan that runs until Feb. 15

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Formosa TV (民視) has agreed to give Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC) temporary authorization to air programs on its cable systems until next month, following an arbitration meeting presided over by the National Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday.

“The outcome of the arbitration stipulate that the temporary authorization begins today,” the NCC said, adding that both parties should continue negotiations over the terms of the content authorizations.

During the negotiations, no party is allowed to engage in actions that would hurt consumers, such as suspending broadcast signal transmissions or removing Formosa TV from the channel lineup.

The dispute began when TBC and Formosa TV were scheduled to negotiate the terms of content authorization for this year, the commission said.

In the past, Formosa TV entrusted its agent, Kbro Co, with the task of negotiating with TBC, but Kbro last year announced that it would stop its business as a cable channel agent.

Rather than finding another agent, Formosa TV decided to negotiate directly with the cable system operator.

However, the negotiations failed when TBC did not agree to Formosa TV’s terms.

According to TBC, its cable systems only needed authorization to broadcast the FTV News channel, but Formosa TV insisted that the authorization include content on the FTV News, FTV One and FTV Taiwan channels and that the cable operator pay content authorization fees accordingly.

TBC then asked the NCC to weigh in, as the two parties had failed to reach an agreement. Both sides on Friday settled for a temporary content authorization plan that permits cable systems under TBC to broadcast the FTV News channel until Feb. 15.

The NCC said it had toward the end of last year notified all cable system operators to carefully plan the renewal of contracts with channel operators and any adjustments of the channel lineup.

If operators fail to secure authorization from channel operators, the operators can by law seek arbitration by the NCC to settle the dispute, the commission said, adding that system operators were not to unilaterally suspend broadcasts of programming by any channel.

It is not the first time that Formosa TV’s channels faced being removed from the channel lineup of the cable systems.

Kbro Co in November said it would remove two of Formosa TV’s digital channels from the lineup of Kbro’s own cable systems. The move was widely seen as a retaliation following Formosa TV’s decision to have its news channel distributed over Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand system, which is a fierce rival of Kbro’s cable systems.

Kbro’s move prompted the NCC to launch an investigation, which ended after Kbro withdrew its decision to remove Formosa TV’s channels from its lineup.

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