7th August 2014, Suva, Fiji – Fiji Television Limited today responds to the concerns raised by SKY Pacific subscribers and the Consumer Council of Fiji on the new and replaced channel line-up.
Fiji Television Limited Chief Executive Officer, Tevita Gonelevu said that they were pleased that Consumer Council and Fiji TV team met yesterday after the concerns from the SKY Pacific subscribers.
Gonelevu said that the key reasons for the dropping of the 9 SKY Pacific channels were of Piracy and Territory Clearance issues in the Pacific Islands.
The BBC Channel was dropped after the repeated complaints by Fiji TV to BBC that the channel is currently pirated in Fiji. BBC and Fiji TV have a non-exclusive Direct to home Commercial and Residential agreement. BBC has in fact confirmed with the Fiji TV team that they have not sub- licensed any other party in Fiji the same rights. Fiji TV is legally paying for the BBC channel and to have pirates stealing the signal despite numerous complaints to BBC does not make business sense. One of the biggest challenges for broadcasters is piracy and there are other channels that Fiji TV currently has that are also being pirated including the FOX Channels content themselves.
In terms of Territory clearance, Fiji TV has been given the license to operate its PAY TV business in Papua New Guinea. Fiji TV needed to have legal clearance for all its channels to broadcast into the SKY Pacific broadcast territories by the Content Suppliers themselves. The Major channels that have been the source of subscriber dissatisfaction are the dropping of some of the FOX International Channels. The other channels are Discovery and Discovery Home and Health, which have not been legally cleared by Discovery for SKY Pacific to broadcast into PNG. Toonami and Cartoon Network are owned by the same company and Toonami Network caters for a different genre of cartoon viewers.
Given Fiji TV’s public listed status, it is imperative that the territories were legally cleared for airing of all SKY Pacific Channels. Gonelevu emphasized that Fiji TV cannot and will not be involved in piracy.
FOX International Channels could only clear two channels, FOX Crime and NetGeo, for the PNG market. However, the remaining 3 FOX channels, FOX Movies, Star Plus and Star World were not cleared for PNG. These 3 channels were given by FOX to a Pay TV competitor in PNG for exclusive broadcast throughout PNG. Fiji TV management had made it clear to FOX management that launching into a new and bigger territory with far less channels would not be a viable business decision for Fiji TV.
Despite the above issue, Fiji TV continued to negotiate with FOX International on several options including geo blocking or selective picking of channels however both parties were unable to reach an amicable solution. Fiji TV has made it known to FOX International that once it grows its business, they will certainly work on getting the channels back from FOX International provided that these channels are legally cleared for broadcast into the SKY Pacific broadcast territory and it will enhance the SKY Pacific business.
The assessment of quality of channel content is always a subjective one and the SKY Pacific is already receiving some positive feedback on some of the new channels. A&E Network, Sony SET India, Warner Brothers are reputable companies in the television business and have been providing quality content for pay television channels.
The Fiji TV team has also monitored the various feedbacks and has commenced contacting its SKY Pacific subscribers directly to highlight the reasons for the changes. It was never Fiji TV’s intention to disappoint its subscribers but through this change Fiji TV was able to gauge how passionate SKY Pacific subscribers are with our product and they have been very proactive in highlighting types of services and content that they expect from the SKY Pacific platform. Given the feedback on some of the new channels from SKY Pacific subscribers, Fiji TV will work with its channel suppliers on the possibility of having at least one or more original channels being part of our new line up. Fiji TV hopes to have a final resolution on this issue in the next few weeks.
Fiji TV will continue to work with all our international channel suppliers to ensure that all broadcast rights are cleared for all of SKY Pacific broadcast territories.