Unpaid 'carriage fees' root of Sky Cable's NBA channels mess – report

MANILA, Philippines – The plot thickens as a report emerges that money is the root of the mess Sky Cable finds itself in with regards to its now unavailable NBA channels.

A column published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday, April 19 lifts the curtain on a supposed dispute between Sky Cable and Solar Entertainment Group, the carrier of NBA Premium and BTV or Basketball TV.

The column alleges that ABS-CBN, which owns Sky Cable, owes millions worth of "carriage fees" to Solar after the two went into a new contract with the NBA in 2014.

Rappler has reached out to Sky Cable for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

The timeline of events reportedly began with this new contract – after the NBA's initial contract from 2010 with Solar expired in 2014 – where Solar still broadcasted games on cable channels NBA Premium and BTV while ABS-CBN showed games on free tv channels (ABS-CBN Sports+Action and Channel 2).

The claim from Solar was that ABS-CBN "immediately" stopped paying carriage fees for the broadcast of games on Sky Cable via BTV and NBA Premium.

Things became even more complicated when Sky Cable allegedly included NBA Premium to a direct-to-home package – something that was not part of the deal.

Solar supposedly informed Sky Cable of this breach in the agreement but it was not addressed.

Solar eventually pressed for ABS-CBN to pay carriage fees of up to Php 321 million, according to the column. To which ABS-CBN reportedly replied with an Php 80 million settlement that did not satisfy Solar.

The amount then rose to Php 659 million, according to Inquirer, and ABS-CBN came back with Php 111 million settlement that again did not sit well with Solar.

The dispute has since spilled over to unsuspecting subscribers who are now missing the ongoing NBA playoffs – the most crucial part of the entire season.

The NBA channels started becoming unavailable in the week of April 10 with livid subscribers taking to social media to express their exasperation over the missing channels – especially for NBA Premium, which requires extra charges per month for other subscribers.

Sky Cable has since been sending text messages and responding to social media complaints saying they will "adjust charges" on the next bill to account for the unavailable channels.

Meanwhile, those same NBA channels remain available via Sky Cable's rival Cignal TV. – Rappler.com