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Solar claims upper hand in NBA broadcast row

/ 12:18 AM June 02, 2017

Businessman Wilson Tieng’s Solar Entertainment Corp. pressed on with its public relations attack against media giant ABS-CBN Corp. and its unit SkyCable for allegedly airing Solar’s sports channels without paying carriage fees for years.

Lawyer Enrique V. Dela Cruz Jr., of Solar’s external counsel Divina Law, claimed in a statement that ABS-CBN and Skycable posted a counter bond of P659 million—the amount Solar alleged the broadcast giant owed it—following an order from a Mandaluyong court.

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This was related to Solar’s allegation that SkyCable failed to pay carriage fees for airing the BTV and NBA Premium TV channels over a three-year period.

“We have a bank certification showing we effectively garnished P659 million of their deposits on May 26,” Dela Cruz said in a statement.

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An ABS-CBN spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an earlier response that ran contrary to allegations made by Solar, ABS-CBN noted that following an agreement with Solar in 2014, it paid 60 percent of the license fees and it “considered that the same already covered the carriage fees of Sky Cable.”

“Unfortunately, Solar disagreed. Despite the good faith attempts of ABS-CBN and Sky Cable to resolve the dispute amicably, Solar cut off the NBA feed to Sky Cable and filed this complaint,” ABS-CBN said.

The feed was cut in April this year and Solar went to court.

In its statement, Solar hit back at ABS-CBN, adding its argument was “a shallow legal pretext to unjustly enrich oneself.”

“The fact that they continued to air the channels and earn advertising revenues despite non-payment of Solar’s billings since 2014 sums up the case. They made Solar believe they would pay that is why Solar kept feeding them its channels,” Dela Cruz added.

Solar has been holding the exclusive right to air NBA in the Philippines since 2010. In 2014, the company said it “allowed ABS-CBN to be part of the joint license agreement with NBA for limited airing rights, i.e., the right to air NBA games only on its free-TV channels.”

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“Sky Cable was never mentioned in the contract. Solar’s ownership of the BTV and NBA Premium channels remained. Again, under the contract, ABS-CBN was allowed to air NBA games only on Channel 2, its Sports + Action channel, and a pay TV that it has yet to develop,” Dela Cruz said. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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TAGS: ABS-CBN Corp., BTV and NBA Premium TV channels, SkyCable, Solar Entertainment Corp., Solar’s sports channels, Wilson Tieng
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