Monday, February 04, 2008


From The Philippine Star comes the report on the issues about the loss of the Solar Entertainment Channels from its channel listing

Late last year, Funfare reported that Solar was moving its programs from SkyCable to, among other channels, RJTV. I didn’t know that there’s an ongoing “issue” between Sky and Solar, until I got the following statement from Sky, quoted below in full:

Much has been said about the withdrawal of certain channels from SkyCable’s programming line-up. Due to a gentleman’s agreement by and between the senior management of Sky and Solar not to discuss commercial negotiations nor to exploit this issue, and to ensure an amicable separation, we have stayed silent on this. It is unfortunate that other personnel in Solar have decided not to honor the agreement, prompting us to come forth with our position.

We understand how much the NBA matters to our subscribers, so it was with much regret that we had to let it go.

Upon contract renewal, we wanted to retain four of the six channels in Solar’s bundle. The four channels we wanted to keep INCLUDED Basketball TV and Solar Sports. Unfortunately, Solar adopted an “all 6 channels or nothing” position. We recognize that it is their right to adopt such a position. Regrettably, we could not accept their position, as is also our right.

Solar leased SBN 21, RPN 9 and RJ 29 which are all free television channels we carry. This development has allowed us to continue carriage of three Solar channels — ETC, Crime/Suspense and Second Avenue. We worked closely with Solar to ensure the clear reception and seamless transition from the original free television programming to theirs.

We have not closed our doors to dealing with Solar. We continue to deal with Solar and their affiliates for the carriage of other channels. We carry ShopTV (owned by William Tieng’s daughter), and are discussing carriage of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in March.

SkyCable’s programming line-up is constantly being upgraded. With the loss of three Solar channels, we now provide six new channels at no additional cost to the subscriber. With the addition of Balls, AXN Beyond, Kidsco, FoxCrime, Maxxx and Velvet, and the moving of Disney from Gold to Silver, we are hopeful that the larger majority of our customers will stay happy.

While some are exhorting switching to our competitor due to our loss of these channels, SkyCable continues to carry channels that are NOT AVAILABLE on other cable services including Teleradyo, ANC, Balls, AXN Beyond, Cinemax, Kidsco, Hero, Animax, Starworld, AXN, FoxCrime, Maxxx, Lifestyle Network, Velvet, Star Movies, Cinema One, Asian Food Channel, Makisig, etc. Moving to our competitor ensures the loss of these invaluable first-rate channels, which would be a great injustice to any cable subscriber.

We have taken substantial steps to ensure that we inform our subscribers about the programming changes which took effect on Jan. 1, 2008. From August 2007, we have been actively informing the public about the impending channel changes. These include full-page announcement print ads in the top dailies, press conferences, regular press releases, on-air announcement plugs which were shown on top cable channels such as CNN, AXN, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network, among others. To ensure that SkyCable subscribers would be directly informed of the developments, letters to the subscribers were mailed out in the first week of November 2007. Despite a minimum requirement of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to provide 30-day notice to subscribers, SkyCable committed itself to informing the public five months before the actual changes took place.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has granted pay television franchises to more than 800 companies in the Philippines. Four of them operate in Metro Manila, one of which is SkyCable. We are operating in a free market where competition exists, and shall continue to do while the law provides for such.

As it has always been our privilege and duty, SkyCable will continue to work towards programming enhancements to provide our subscribers with the best channels and programs available today. It is our commitment to our subscribers, to our stakeholders, and to the general public.

Source: the Philippine Star

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