NCC fines TBC, FTV over fee dispute - Taipei Times
Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NCC fines TBC, FTV over fee dispute

MONEY TALKS:Each of TBC’s five cable systems has been fined NT$660,000, while Formosa TV faces a NT$200,000 fine. The NCC also demanded an end to the fight

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

National Communications Commission spokesman Wong Po-tsung, center, yesterday holds a news conference at the commission’s headquarters in Taipei to announce that Taiwan Broadband Communications and Formosa TV were being fined over their content-fee dispute.

Photo: Liu Li-jen, Taipei Times

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday fined Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC) and Formosa TV (FTV) for suspending broadcast of Formosa TV channels in some areas over their dispute about content authorization fees.

Since each of the five cable systems under TBC have been fined NT$660,000 (US$22,053), TBC faces a total fine of NT$3.3 million, while Formosa TV was fined NT$200,000, commission spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

“The two companies have just been looking out for themselves and disregarding the interests of cable service subscribers,” he said, adding that the commission would continue to issue fines if the companies do not rectify the situation.

The dispute began late last year during negotiations over FTV’s content authorization fees for this year.

Formosa said TBC should pay fees for the content aired on its three news channels — Formosa News, Formosa Taiwan and Follow Me TV — but TBC said it only planned to air the Formosa News channel and would not pay for the other two.

Unable to reach an agreement, they asked the commission to arbitrate.

After multiple rounds of arbitration, the commission last week told the firms to continue negotiating a reasonable licensing fee for Formosa News channel content, but said that prior to a deal being reached, Formosa should not stop transmitting the Formosa News channel and TBC must not remove the channel from its lineup.

It told Formosa TV that it must inform the commission of the price it would charge TBC for carrying only Formosa News channel, and told TBC that it must give it copies of its contracts with FTV from the past three years so it could use those content authorization fees as a reference.

However, TBC on Friday last week stopped broadcasting Formosa News on the grounds that it had not been given temporary authorization from FTV to do so, a move that affected about 750,000 cable service subscribers.

The commission fined TBC NT$60,000 for the move and gave Formosa a warning.

FTV told the commission that TBC’s fees would be calculated by multiplying the number of its subscribers by NT$2, while TBC has said it would provide its FTV contracts to the commission, Wong said.

TBC also promised to compensate its subscribers by offering 13 channel packages, valued between NT$200 and NT$350 per package, of which they could choose one to watch for free until TBC resumes airing Formosa News, he said.

“This shows that the two sides have now a greater chance of reaching a compromise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kbro Co, TWN Broadband and two other cable system operators have yet to agree to the authorization fees FTV has set for its three channels, and their temporary authorizations are due to expire today, which could mean that 1.78 million cable service subscribers would lose access to those channels.

“Although FTV has agreed to give Kbro, TBC and other cable system operators temporary authorizations to continue to broadcast its network’s content, cable system operators said that they wanted the network to issue an official affidavit waiving them of all criminal responsibilities as stated in the Copyright Act (著作權法),” Wong said.

While FTV has been criticized for its “coercive licensing tactics” in content-fee negotiations, TBC has also come under fire for offering too little for content fees compared with Kbro and China Network Systems, sources within the commission told the Taipei Times.

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