Taipei cable still pulled for U.S. coin

TAIPEI — Taipei held fast to its position against allowing foreign investment in Taiwan’s thriving cable industry during negotiations with U.S. trade officials last week.

The island’s 606 cable companies are competing for a limited number of licenses that will leave two-thirds of them either closed down or bought out.

The Taiwan and U.S. governments insist on stopping unauthorized rebroadcasts of coded satellite programs. Enforcement of the policy is expected to raise overhead for cablers.

In a related development, Taiwan saw its first home-grown cable news broadcast when Truth Television News aired a three-hour news segment March 1. The daily TTN broadcasts are seen by cable subscribers only in Taipei county, but plans are being made for other counties as well.

* * *

Malaysia: TV3 shores up feature film division

KUALA LUMPUR — TV3, the country’s first private station, has set up a film production unit to consolidate its feature film program following a recent venture into the multiplex business.

About eight features will be produced each year as part of its overall plan to release 24 local films annually, including those acquired from other production houses.

TV3’s program manager, Khalid Mohammed Zain, said the unit would be under the aegis of Adman Sallelh, who won the director award at the 10th Malaysian Film Festival.

To spearhead its entry into the feature sector, TV3 bought into the lucrative multiplex business, and is now involved in the operation of 30 multiplexes called CineArt throughout Malaysia. TV3 expects 200 such mini-cinemas to be set up by the end of this year.

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