CTS News to move to vacant channel 52 on top cable provider

Taipei-The National Communications Commission (NCC) has approved a request by Taiwan's largest cable television provider to move a 24-hour news station, Chinese Television System (CTS) News and Info, to channel 52, ending a months-long vacancy in the spot.

In a Wednesday press release, the NCC said it had approved the applications of 12 subsidiaries of cable TV giant Homeplus Digital Co. and three independent operators to move CTS News and Info from its current spot on channel 130 into the vacant channel 52 slot.

Combined, the companies represent some 1.245 million customers, equivalent to 25.58 percent of Taiwan's cable TV audience, according to NCC statistics.

Before the station can begin broadcasting on channel 52, the cable operators will be required to publicly advertise the move for a period of five days, the commission said, adding that the move could take place by mid-April.

Aside from Homeplus Digital, a group of companies led by Taiwan Fixed Network Co. and representing about 809,000 customers, had applied to move Taiwan Television (TTV) into the channel 52 slot.

However, other major cable firms, including kbro Inc., which has a second-place market share of 20 percent, have not yet applied to fill the channel, the NCC said.

CTS News and Info is one of five stations operated by CTS, which itself is a part of the publicly owned Taiwan Broadcasting System that also runs the Public Television Service and Hakka TV.

It will be filling the spot left by CTi News, which closed down on Dec. 11 last year after the NCC controversially refused to renew its broadcast license for the first time since the commission's establishment in 2006.

The cable news network, which is owned by the Want Want China Times Media Group and now broadcasts online, is known for being critical of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party and pro-China.

This led some, including Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang, to accuse the government of shutting the channel down for political reasons and damaging the country's press freedom.

However, the NCC justified its decision by pointing out that CTi News has a history of broadcast violations and lacks internal controls, allowing Want Want executives to exert undue political influence on the station's news coverage.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel