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WORLD CUP UNLOCK

RS pays more than Bt300m in refunds

LEADING music and entertainment company RS has paid Bt326.97 million to customers for compensation after it agreed with the broadcasting regulator to unlock all live matches of the Fifa World Cup soccer tournament for free-TV channels.

Chief operating officer Pornpan Techarungchaikul said yesterday that 200,000 customers had returned their Bt1,590 World Cup set-top boxes and 30,000 subscribers had called for a refund of the Bt299 package to watch the matches via other types of satellite-TV boxes. Those customers have received a full refund. Therefore, the total value of the compensation was Bt326.97 million.

Last month, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) approved a Bt427-million subsidy to the World Cup's broadcast-rights licensee RS International Broadcasting and Sport Management, a subsidiary of RS, as compensation for losses incurred after the company agreed to "unlock" the matches for TV5, Channel 7 and Channel 8 to access.

Under the original plan, the company had reserved only 22 live matches for Channel 7 and Channel 8, while the remaining live matches were to be available via its pay-TV channel PSI Digital O2 HD and TrueVisions using the set-top box.

RS chief executive officer Surachai Chetchotisak said his company had received only about Bt100 million compensation, while the remaining compensation would be discussed with the commission's special negotiation subcommittee, which consists of representatives from the Finance and Commerce ministries, the Budget Bureau, and the NBTC.

"What we will get cannot be compared to what we will lose," Surachai said.

However, Pornpan said her company hoped that the NBTC would deliver on its promise.


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