MANILA - The battle between the country's top 2 TV networks is heating up on a different front.
GMA Network on Tuesday said it has filed a complaint before the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against the cable unit of rival ABS-CBN Corp because of its channel reassignments.
SkyCable has transferred GMA7's flagship free-to-air TV broadcast service, which used to air on Channel 12, to a different channel assignment. Thus, SkyCable subscribers wanting to watch GMA7 would have to flip to Channel 99.
Besides GMA7, the channel reassignment also affected Shop TV, Sky Preview Channel and ABN.
SkyCable said it temporarily placed GMA7 on Channel 99 so its cable TV subscribers can continue watching their favorite programs on this channel.
This is the third time in the last decade that GMA7 complained of SkyCable's channel reassignments.
In 2003, the NTC ordered SkyCable to return GMA7 to Channel 12 after the cable TV operator moved the broadcast of its parent firm's rival to Channel 14.
In September last year, SkyCable transferred GMA7 from Channel 12 to Channel 85, as the cable TV operator complained of intermittent signal freezing.
In an email to InterAksyon.com, GMA7 consultant for corporate communications Butch S. Raquel said the network is concerned about "why it gets to be affected by whatever Sky Cable is doing or modifying in its system."
"The network believes that it should be the responsibility of SkyCable to make certain that any changes it implements in the system does not in any way affect the channels for the sake of the viewing public and paying subscribers," said Raquel, referring to SkyCable's subscribers.
SkyCable however said the channel reassignment is meant to transfer affected channels to "better streams."
"These streams may not be immediately detected by selected models of digital boxes when channel numbers are keyed in on the remote controls. Subscribers can troubleshoot this problem by following the procedures specified in mysky.com," the cable TV operator said.
"SkyCable regrets this temporary inconvenience and extends its apologies for any difficulty brought about by this system upgrade. Your patience at this time would be highly appreciated," it said in a notice to subscribers.
Executives of SkyCable were unavailable for comment as this went online.
SkyCable has more than 500,000 subscribers in Metro Manila. Last year, the company acquired rival Destiny Cable, which has 200,000 subscribers.
InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5. Both TV5 and Cignal TV, a direct-to-home satellite TV service, are part of MediaQuest Holdings, the media arm of the PLDT group.