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RS still plans exclusive World Cup broadcast

RS will still broadcast live all 64 matches of the Fifa World Cup Finals only on its new satellite-television set-top boxes despite the regulator advising it to allow those matches to be viewed by the general public on free TV.

"Our business plan for the World Cup tournament is running as planned," Surachai Chetchotisak, chief executive of the leading music and entertainment house, said yesterday.

The Administrative Court is still considering the company's dispute with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and a ruling might take time, he said.

RS yesterday launched a new model box bundled with the World Cup Channel, an exclusive channel for live broadcasts of the World Cup soccer finals and related TV programmes, all in standard definition.

The 20th International Federation of Association Football World Cup Finals will run from June 12 to July 13 in Brazil.

RS customers will also be able to watch all 380 live matches of Spain's La Liga soccer league for the 2014-15 season, the Copa del Rey Spanish home matches and other RS programmes.

The new Bt1,590 set-top box will be available next month at 7-Eleven convenience stores and satellite-dish distributors across the country.

Pornpan Techarungchaikul, chief operating officer, said her company targeted Bt1.59 billion worth of sales of a million set-top boxes from next month to June.

However, revenue from management of the World Cup's broadcasting rights this year was expected to pass Bt650 million, of which 85 per cent will come from advertising and sponsorship and the rest from sub-licensing including content bundled with the set-top box.

The company will soon bring out a subscription package for watching the World Cup via its Sunbox for extra income.

To raise awareness of its new pay-TV service, the company is splashing Bt100 million on market activities and public relations campaigns during the tournament.

The dispute between RS and the NBTC hit the headlines last year when the company took its case to the Administrative Court, saying the commission's "must have" rule was unfair.

RS insists that it would simulcast only 22 live matches on free TV via analog Channel 7 and its own digital Channel 8.

The company argued that its subsidiary RS International Broadcasting and Sport Management had already secured the World Cup broadcasting rights before the must-have rule came into effect in 2012, so the World Cup was not covered by the new rule.


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