Uefa kills True rebroadcast bid
Pay-TV firm admits fight to air footie games is lost
The Union of European Football Associations has vetoed a request by its broadcast rights holder GMM Grammy to rebroadcast tournament matches to pay-TV operator True Visions.
Uefa yesterday sent a letter to Grammy to reject its sub-licensing request.
In a letter to Grammy Sport managing director Kobkiat Sangwanich, Uefa's media rights manager Ian Wilson said the request had come too late since the tournament was already well under way.
True Visions cannot transmit any Euro 2012 programmes because it is not owned by Grammy, or affiliated to the company, the letter said.
"True Visions had an earlier opportunity to acquire Uefa Euro 2012 rights from Uefa directly. Furthermore, GMM Grammy delivers greater free-TV exposure in Thailand through the sub-licensing of rights to free-TV (channels 3, 5 and 9) and we are very happy with this free-to-air broadcast platform," he said.
Uefa also did not see the rationale or merit of extending the sub-licensing rights to True Visions since it remains a pay-TV operator even though it broadcasts free-TV channels.
Sompan Charumilinda, executive vice-chairman of True Visions, admitted its customers now have no chance of viewing Euro 2012 via its set-top boxes. "Customers need to accept the fact," he said.
True Visions has been providing extra channels for its subscribers to compensate for their inability to view the Euro football matches, which run until July 10.
But Mr Sompan said the company could not accept a condition proposed by a sub-committee of the Consumer Protection Board, requiring True Visions to waive a one-month service fee for its 1.8 million subscribers. "The proposal is impossible as it will create a heavy financial burden for us," he said.
Mr Sompan said True Visions expressed "deep regrets" for what it described as an "unpredictable incident". He said True Visions would have bid for the Euro broadcast rights directly from Uefa in the first place if it had known this dispute could arise.
Mr Sompan said True Visions would agree to pay a 20,000 baht daily fine for failing to rebroadcast Euro matches, reversing the company's earlier refusal to pay the penalty.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) imposed the fine after True Visions failed to comply with its order that it broadcast the tournament.
Mr Sompan said the company will meet the broadcasting committee to clarify the issue and negotiate the fine.
He also vowed that if True Visions retains the rights to air English Premier League matches after 2013, it will rebroadcast the games on terrestrial free-TV channels on every set-top box device.
Thana Thienachariya, chief executive of GMM Z, the satellite TV arm of GMM Grammy, said the firm did its best to end the dispute and it should end now.
Consumer rights groups, however, say the NBTC should take further action to ensure that all TV viewers will be able to watch Euro 2012 as long as they can receive signals from the three free TV channels.
The Federation of Consumer Organisations yesterday wrote to the NBTC asking it to order Channels 3, 5, and 9 to rebroadcast the matches, Saree Ongsomwang, secretary-general of the federation, said.
NBTC member Supinya Klangnarong said True Visions should waive for one month its subscription fee as compensation to its customers for being unable to bring them the matches.
By Komsan Tortermvasana, Darana Chudasri & Wichit Chantanusornsiri
14 June 2012
GMM Z marketing director Fahmai Damrongchaitham, left, and chief executive officer of GMM Z, Thana Thienachariya, show a letter from Uefa which refuses to allow pay-TV operator True Visions to gain access to the signal for the Euro 2012 football matches.