Thu, Jan 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Mao Te’s EBC bid likely to go ahead after budget pledge

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Mao Te International Investment Co’s acquisition of Eastern Broadcasting Co (EBC) is likely to be approved by the National Communications Commission soon, after the company yesterday promised to increase the network’s program production budget more than it had previously stated.

“The commission has felt the goodwill expressed by Mao Te’s management,” commission spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

Mao Te chairman Chang Kao-hsiang (張高祥) visited the commission yesterday morning and gave positive responses to commissioners’ questions, Weng said.

Chang had said in both public and administrative hearings earlier this month that the annual budget for EBC program production would be raised by NT$100 million (US$3.41 million) for three years after he becomes the official owner of the network, Weng said, adding that the network’s budget for program production is NT$300 million per year.

Chang in yesterday’s meeting raised the increment to NT$150 million for six years, which would carry the network’s program production budget to more than NT$450 million per year, Weng said.

Chang also promised to increase the starting salary of the network’s entry-level employees from NT$28,000 per month to NT$30,000, Weng said.

The average monthly salary for the network’s 1,200 employees is NT$52,000, which is within the top 30 percent in the television industry.

Chang also reiterated his commitment that the network’s news channel would operate independently and that he would sign an editorial statute with the network’s journalists, Weng said.

Chang said that the network would stipulate guidelines to regulate its news coverage and recruit independent experts to oversee its daily operations, Weng added.

“Chang also promised that there would be a clear separation between the network’s ownership and the right to manage the network. The network’s board members will not hold any management positions. Some of the seats on its board would be assumed by independent experts,” Weng said.

As to whether employees would be able to serve on the EBC board, Mao Te only said that it would have a platform to communicate with the network’s employees, Weng said, adding that the Public Television Service does not have such board members either.

Weng said that the commission is scheduled to reconfirm Chang’s commitments next week and would consider listing them as conditional clauses if it decides to approve the case.

Industry experts have said that they expect the deal to be approved, as it is not controversial.

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