State-funded English-language streaming service TaiwanPlus is to start broadcasting on terrestrial television and through Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand service on Oct. 10 after its broadcast application was yesterday approved by the National Communications Commission (NCC).
The NCC assigned TaiwanPlus to use the frequency block between 542 megahertz (MHz) and 548MHz — designated for use by the Public Television Service’s (PTS) Channel 26.
NCC Department of Broadcasting and Content Affairs Director Huang Wen-che (黃文哲) said the PTS is negotiating with cable service operators about airing TaiwanPlus on cable.
The Ministry of Culture-funded streaming service was run by the Central News Agency before the PTS in June took over its management.
The application submitted to the NCC showed TaiwanPlus would operate based on the PTS’ management guidelines, the commission said.
“The English-language streaming service will feature news and documentaries, and aims to show the world that Taiwan, a country formed by immigrants, has a diverse, rich and unique culture,” the commission said.
The PTS hopes to expand Taiwan’s international news coverage, offer diverse programs and cultivate reporting talent.
The commission also approved the PTS’ proposed changes to the operations of Channel 26.
“The Public Television Service pledged to have a full-time executive director for the streaming service, recruit additional staff, offer training to employees and procure new equipment,” the NCC said.
The changes would not interfere with the broadcast of the PTS’ main channel and PTS Haklo.
Chen Chin-shuan (陳金霜), a senior specialist at the Department of Broadcasting and Content, said that the PTS plans to recruit 45 more staff for TaiwanPlus’ production team.
The network has pledged that at least 25 percent of TaiwanPlus programs would not have been aired before on another domestic terrestrial television channel, Chen said.
Content on TaiwanPlus would be created by the production team itself, Chen said, adding that the streaming service has an operational budget of NT$800 million (US$26.7 million) per year.
The operation of the streaming service came under scrutiny after lawmakers in March said that its app had only been downloaded 36,000 times after it was launched on Aug. 30 last year, reaching only 3 percent of its download target.
Monthly downloads have since March increased by about 2,000 per month, with 60 percent of new viewers being based in Taiwan.
More than half of TaiwanPlus Web site views were from Taiwan, the lawmakers said, adding that this limits the platform’s intended global reach.
The Ministry of Culture defended the streaming service.
Six months after its launch, TaiwanPlus reached 30 million people, drawing an average number of 136,000 visitors per day, it said.
The service is part of the ministry’s International Digital Communication project, which has a total funding of more than NT$5.8 billion over four years.
People from 129 countries watch TaiwanPlus, and its coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was quoted by Fox News.
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