Taiwan’s media scene has changed significantly since the beginning of the internet era. According to Nielsen Taiwan, only 18% of its population had access to the internet daily in 2000. But by 2015, 79% of its population of 23.3 million are connected. Television still remains the most popular platform for receiving news, but this viewership has declined from 93% to 88% in 2000. Still, pay-TV is increasingly saturated with the focus shifted to more on-demand services.
The regulatory system has heavy state-control orientation, but the regulator, National Communications Commission (NCC) is neutral and independent of operators but leaves little scope for private initiative. Politicisation and vested interests particularly at the local level also blocks reform efforts.
Protection is weak but general enforcement of IP laws is improving. The legal framework for copyright does not favour protection of pay- TV signals. Copyright owners bear the heavy burden of stimulating enforcement, since fines for violations are too low to halt. There are bilateral copyright agreements protecting content owners, since the government has no ability to enter into major IPR conventions. Taiwan copyright law should protect online television broadcasts and programmes broadcast online, but in practice, there is no enforcement possible against overseas websites.
Cable TV must provide at least 20% local programming in its mix. With an ample supply of local content, this condition does not prove to be a problem to broadcasters. DTH, IPTV and mobile have no similar requirement. There are general guidelines on content control, but overall controls not burdensome. The regulator is becoming more interventional on content standards, motivated by concerns about content quality.