Fri, May 24, 2019 - Page 2 News List

NCC steps in to manage Eleven Sports dispute

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff weporter

The government would follow due procedures when arbitrating between TV channel Eleven Sports and cable service operators, the National Communication Commission (NCC) said on Wednesday, adding that both sides should not compromise consumer interests because of the dispute.

The dispute arose when several cable operators refused to pay Eleven Sports more content authorization fees.

The channel said that it had notified the commission on Wednesday that, beginning on June 1, it would stop transmitting broadcast signals to Dafeng Cable Co and TWT Digital Communication, DigiDom Cable TV Co, as well as cable operators under China Network Systems (CNS).

Eleven Sports said on Facebook that over the past few years it has paid huge amounts in royalties to broadcast Lamingo Monkeys games, Premier League soccer and the International Basketball Federation World Cup, adding that it has not paid less than other sports channels.

“We tried to enrich our content and improve program quality, but we cannot even charge a reasonable content authorization fee, which has remained an unresolved issue. We are really sorry for what has happened. The last thing we want is sacrifice the interests of our viewers,” the channel said.

Two channel agents, each representing multiple channels, have already threatened to sue and suspend broadcast signals to Dafeng Cable Co if it refuses to pay the content authorization fees it owes.

Dafeng said that it is a new cable operator and has fewer subscribers, so it should not have pay the same content authorization fees as existing cable operators.

The commission has intervened in the dispute.

Many channel operators attributed the source of the dispute to multiple systems operator Taiwan Optical Platform Co’s decision to reduce the content authorization fees it pays to channel operators by 20 percent this year.

They said that this would motivate other cable operators to follow suit, significantly lowering the revenues earned by channel operators.

Asked how the commission plans resolve the two disputes, NCC Department of Frequency and Resources Deputy Director Niu Hsin-ren (牛信仁) said that changes to the cable channel lineup must be approved by the commission.

If cable operators make unauthorized changes, they would breach regulations by not following their business plans and compromising consumers’ interests, Niu said.

The commission on May 9 fined Taiwan Broadband Communications NT$3.3 million (US$104,606) and Formosa TV NT$200,000, when the former terminated broadcast signals for the latter after a dispute.

Asked if that means that Eleven Sports cannot stop transmitting signals even if it has unresolved disputes with cable operators or that cable operators cannot remove Eleven Sports from their lineups, Niu said that the commission would look at their business plans first.

Acting NCC spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) said that the commission’s procedures might differ in this dispute, depending on whether cable operators have specifically listed the channel in their business plans, or if users have to pay additional fee to view the channel.

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