GMM Grammy defends self on Euro '12

business June 12, 2012 00:00

By USANEE MONGKOLPORN,
WATCHIRAN

12,846 Viewed

GMM Grammy insists it has done the right thing to prevent losses among its business partners and their customers, in regard to its decision to allow the viewing of live Euro 2012 matches in Thailand on only its own channels and those of its partners.



GMM Grammy is sole holder of the soccer tournament’s match broadcasting rights in the Kingdom.

Dew Waratangtagoon, managing director for platform strategy at Grammy content provider GMM Z, said yesterday that to resolve the dispute with pay-TV operator True-Visions, the company had written on June 8 to the tournament’s overall broadcasting-rights owner, Uefa, seeking to allow TrueVisions to rebroadcast live matches for its viewers on the free-TV channels 3, 5 and 9 carried on the TrueVisions network.

It has also offered to TrueVisions the leasing of its set-top boxes to TrueVisions subscribers to enable them to watch live Euro 2012 matches on these free-TV channels on TrueVisions network, pending the permission from Uefa.

“Though this offer is very tough for TrueVisions, we still believe the company understands our reasons,” Dew said.

He added that TrueVisions was the prioritised business partner for GMM Grammy to broadcast the tournament jointly. However, although GMM Grammy had opened negotiations with the pay-TV operator late last year, the two sides had failed to reach a satisfactory agreement.

After the talks broke down, GMM Grammy struck deals with new partners, namely DTV and Cable Thai Holding, to rebroadcast the signal from selected free-TV channels: ThaiTV3, TV5 and Modernine TV. Those owning GMM Z set-top boxes can also view the matches, he said.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday said it was ready to slap a fine on TrueVisions at 4.30pm today if it had by then still failed to comply with the watchdog’s June 7 order to enable its subscribers to view live Euro 2012 matches on channels 3, 5, 9 carried on its network.

The agency’s broadcasting committee notified TrueVisions of the potential fine of Bt20,000 per day, which would be retroactively imposed from June 8. Committee chairman Natee Sukonrat also warned those wanting to apply for upcoming NBTC broadcasting licences that the regulator would take their past behaviour into consideration when deciding which businesses should get a licence.

It will look at whether they have done anything to affect broadcasting market competition or the interests of consumers, he said.

The watchdog yesterday also ordered its consumer protection subcommittee to devise measures to remedy the situation whereby True-Visions customers cannot view Euro matches on their normal channels.

TrueVisions wrote to the NBTC opposing its June 7 order, arguing that it amounted to forcing it to violate GMM Grammy’s Thai broadcasting rights. It also asked the NBTC to revoke the order, so as to comply with the copyright protection law. In an effort to appease its subscribers, TrueVisions has given them a free upgrade, valid from yesterday until July 10.

During the period, its Platinum package subscribers will be able to access all nine “a la carte” channels: HBO Signature, HBO Hits, HBO Family, Discovery Science, TLC, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Home & Health, Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

Gold package members will be able to access all Platinum channels, while subscribers to other packages will be able to access all six TrueSports channels.

The NBTC is drawing up rules to establish clear practice regarding the broadcasting of copyrighted programmes on free-TV channels, to prevent any possible problem stemming from this type of broadcasting in the future, Natee said.