June 14, 2014 00:00
By Watchiranont Thongtep
RS customers will receive a full Bt1,590 refund if they want to return the FIFA World Cup set-top box while the Bt299 subscription fee to watch the Brazilian event will also be refunded.
Chief operating officer Pornpan Techarungchaikul said that RS had prepared two remedies for people unhappy over the public being given free-to-air access to live telecasts of the 64 World Cup matches via the Army-owned TV5, Channel 7 and Channel 8.
However, Pornpan insisted that the benefits of its exclusive content-bundled “World Cup boxes” remain unchanged.
Customers can watch live feeds of all the matches, replays of matches and special programmes related to the tournament as well as 380 live Spanish La Liga matches next season.
To get a refund, the set-top box has to be returned to the company's warehouse in Rangsit or returned via parcel post.
On Thursday, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) voted 6-1 to approve a Bt427-million subsidy to be paid to the 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 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 True Visions using the set-top box.
RS has already made Bt650 million in revenue from the event, mainly from sponsorship.
The figure excludes the NBTC compensation figure, the Bt30 million True Visions paid RS for accessing the tournament, the Bt477 million it made selling some 300,000 set-top boxes and Bt30 million in subscription revenue.
Apart from the refund budget, RS has to pay approximately Bt10 million for leasing additional airtime on TV5 for the telecast of 38 matches. Subscribers who paid the Bt299 one-time package to watch matches have to contact the company’s call centre if they want their money back.
Surachai Chetchotisak, chief executive officer of RS, told a separate press conference that the company would use some of the Bt427-million subsidy in the remedy scheme.
“What we will get cannot be compared with what we lose,” Surachai said.