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  Taiwan Telecommunications and Media Regulatory Update December 2019
Print | Date: 2019-12-06  
Broadcasting Regulators Proposed Mandatory Arbitration Mechanism for Fee Disputes Between Cable TV Platform Operators and Program Channel Broadcasters
Taiwan’s broadcasting regulator, the National Communications Commission (NCC), recently proposed an amendment to Taiwan’s cable broadcasting laws which would introduce a new mandatory arbitration mechanism for disputes between cable television broadcasting platform operators and program channel broadcasters over license fees (payable by said cable television platform operators to the programming channel broadcasters, typically for channels with stronger market positions), or carriage fees (payable by said channel broadcasters to cable television platform operators for the latter’s carriage of TV home shopping channels or channels with weaker market position). Currently, such disputes can be submitted to the NCC for mediation by either the cable television platform operator or the channel broadcaster involved. Such mediation is optional but could be initiated by one of the parties involved. The NCC is not authorized to make any decision nor to force the parties involved to reach any agreement over the dispute in the mediation and only serves as an intermediary to help the disputes reach a resolution. It is not uncommon for the parties to fail to reach any agreement through such mediation, in which case the parities would bring the dispute to the courts for resolution. In practice, the NCC typically requests that the parties involved continue broadcasting the channel(s) at issue based on the terms previously agreed upon between the parties during the mediation process though the parities are not obligated to do so.

The proposed amendment introduces a mandatory arbitration mechanism for resolving dispute over license fees or carriage fees as mentioned above. The proposed amendment limits the NCC’s mediation process for such fee disputes to a period of 3 months, with an extension for another one month available, if necessary. If the dispute cannot be resolved via such mediation, the NCC could, subject to the consent of both parties, submit the dispute to an arbitration tribunal set up by the NCC. Any decision reached by such tribunal would be considered final, conclusive and binding upon the parties involved. More importantly, the proposed amendment further authorizes the NCC to refer disputes that have gone unresolved under the mediation period to a tribunal without the need to first secure the consents of the parties involved if the NCC considers the dispute to significantly impair the interests of subscribers, fair competition in the market, or the public interest. The proposed amendment further expressly authorizes the NCC to require that the parties involved continue to broadcast the channel(s) at issue based on the terms and fees that the parities formally agreed to until the dispute is resolved via mediation or arbitration. The rules governing the procedures for the abovementioned arbitration would be further set forth by the NCC.

The proposed amendment is subject to approval by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan (the “Cabinet”) and then by the Executive Yuan (the “Congress”) before it could become effective. There is, currently, no specific timeline for when these may occur.


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Robert C. Lee, at +886-2-8725-6601, rclee@yangminglaw.com
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