Public Television Service, Taiwan

Monday 17 October 2016

Entrance to Public Television Service. Image: PTS

Since 1998, a central role of Taiwan’s Public Television Service (PTS) has been to promote democratic value, minority interests, culture and voices that were once unheard under martial law.

The notion of a Taiwanese public service broadcaster was originally conceived in the early 1980s during the country’s long period of marital law when there was seen to be a need for a public information service. Yet it was not until the early 1990s, after martial law had been lifted, that significant legislative steps towards an independent and non-profit PSB began in earnest. In 1997 the final statutes needed for PTS were created, paving the way for its formal establishment on July 1 1998.

As Taiwan’s first PSB and independent broadcaster, its primary goal was to “establish a public service mass media system” and offer balance against commercial television by providing a wide range of quality programming that represented the diversity and creativity of Taiwan.

PTS Logo

PTS Logo

In 2003 PTS’s role as an impartial commentator was boosted with a legislative amendment to the Broadcasting and Television Act. This prohibited the government and other political parties from investing in broadcast and television industries whilst demanding that previous investments were withdrawn within two years. In 2006 this act helped to secure and usher-in an era of media free from political or military interventions, according to PTS.

Yet the 2006 reforms also led to the development of the television consortium, Taiwan Broadcasting System (TBS). In an attempt to ‘up’ the creative, informative and entertainment output of PTS, the broadcaster merged with the previously government owned Chinese Television System (CTS), with PTS playing the most active role in TBS. Under PTS’s administration, three other channels joined the TBS consortium in 2007, making it the largest broadcaster in Taiwan with eight channels.

Through TBS, PTS has taken significant steps towards digital transition thanks to a substantial US$137.38 million grant from Taiwan’s legislature to develop a digital terrestrial broadcasting platform. This fund has also been used to support various other projects such as High-Definition TV (HDTV), Single Frequency Network (SFN), DVB-H mobile TV, newsroom automation, non-linear post-production network, and digital archiving programmes.

Deepening Citizen Access, Empowerment and Engagement in the Digital Era

More recently PTS has developed and launched several mobile apps such as the live-streaming PTS VOD and PeoPo, a specialised citizen journalism platform, which has proved pivotal in the reporting of crises and the representation of local communities. The PTS VOD app was successfully used to engage 270,000 citizens during local elections at the end of 2014, enabling them to simultaneously engage with footage through social media and online chats.

For more information on PTS, its 18 year timeline and future plans, head to the PTS website or read their Annual Reports from 2014 & 2015.

Further reading: Citizen Journalism, Public service broadcasting and crisis reporting in Taiwan


Year established: 1998

Web address: http://www.pts.org.tw or  http://eng.pts.org.tw

Full: True

Main funding source: State direct, sponsorships, programme production and donations

Ownership: Taiwan Broadcasting System