RS appeals for World cup 'deal'
Music and entertainment giant RS, which holds the Thai broadcasting rights for the Fifa World Cup 2014 matches, has asked the National Broadcasting and Telecommun-ications Commission (NBTC) to relax its "must carry" rule to allow the company to air only selected matches on free-TV channels. The rule currently obliges it to air all matches on free-to-air TV.
President and chief executive officer Surachai Chetchotisak said last week that RS would hold further discussions with the NBTC on this matter.
Fully implemented late last year, the "must-carry" rule applies to seven events: the Southeast Asian Games, Asean Para Games, Asian Games, Asian Para Games, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Fifa World Cup Finals, which the public must be able to access.
The holders of broadcasting rights to those sports tournaments must allow them to be aired on free-TV channels, besides their own media platforms.
RS recently sent a proposal to the NBTC that the regulation be relaxed on grounds that the company held the rights to broadcast the soccer tournament before the "must carry" rule was put in place. In the letter, it proposed making only 22 of the tournament's 64 matches available for free-to-air TV channels.
Surachai said he was concerned that the "must carry" rule could unavoidably impact the company's business and could lead to a breach of its rights contract with Fifa.
The 20th Fifa Word Cup is scheduled to take place in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014.
Besides securing the world's top football tournament, RS also holds media rights to broadcast Spain's La Liga soccer competition for three seasons from this year.
The firm plans to make money from those media rights not only from advertising and sponsorship but also from the pay-TV service available on its Sunbox satellite TV set-top box. T
The pay-TV service will be launched in the middle of this year.
To minimise possible losses from the pay-TV business, RS said, it opted to negotiate with the NBTC to find a good balance between the number of soccer matches made available via free TV and its pay-TV channels.