Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NCC steps in to arbitrate TBC-Formosa TV dispute

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) is to arbitrate today in a dispute over content authorization fees between Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC, 台灣寬頻) and Formosa TV (民視), as the two keep failing to reach an agreement.

Today’s arbitration is the second time that the NCC has been asked to intervene in the case.

TBC, a multiple service operator, owns five cable TV systems in northern and central Taiwan, with a total of 700,000 subscribers. It was supposed to reach an agreement with the Formosa TV network by the end of last year regarding the amount of content authorization fees that TBC would have to pay this year to broadcast the network’s news channel on its systems, but the negotiations fell apart.

TBC later notified Formosa TV that it would have to remove the network’s news channel from its channel lineup for fear of infringing on the network’s copyright, which prompted the NCC to intervene.

Through arbitration at the end of last year, both companies agreed that Formosa TV would give TBC a temporary authorization allowing the service operator to broadcast the news channel until Thursday this week. In the meantime, the two parties were to continue negotiations over the content authorization fees.

However, almost no progress has been made in negotiations front in the past two months.

Regarding the gridlock, TBC said that in the past, its partnership with Formosa TV allowed it to carry only the news channel without paying a fee, and that in return, the network did not have to pay a fee to have its news channel included in the channel lineup.

However, the network this year changed its practice, demanding that FTV One (民視第一台) and FTV Taiwan (民視台灣台) — two other channels in the network — also be included in the service operator’s channel lineup, TBC said, adding that the network is also demanding that the authorization fee be calculated based on the content aired on all three Formosa TV channels.

TBC found these demands to be unacceptable, as it only intends to carry the network’s news channel and does not think that it should pay for the content of the other two channels, it said, adding that it has twice invited Formosa TV to negotiate, but the network boycotted both meetings, insisting that its conditions be met.

“If negotiations fail to produce any positive result this time, we will have to cease transmitting broadcast signals for the Formosa TV news channel, effective at 12am on Friday,” TBS said.

“The door for negotiation is still open,” TBC added. “The last thing we want to see is the Formosa TV news channel being removed from our channel lineup — a no-win situation for the channel, the cable systems and the cable service subscribers.”

Both sides have been asked to attend an arbitration meeting at the commission today, NCC spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said, adding that the commission hopes the dispute will end peacefully.

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