2012 World Cup Broadcasting


The television industry in Hong Kong may be in decline, but it certainly isn’t doing so quietly. Not only is there a rather public spat over ATV ownership and ATV’s future, all 3 major broadcasters are fighting over the sub-licensing broadcasting rights to the 2012 South African World Cup.

Rightfully, iCable bid and now owns the whole broadcasting rights to all matches. Needless to say, iCable has a lot fewer viewers than free channels such as TVB or ATV. If iCable were the only one to broadcast any matches, a pitifully low number of people would be able to see the event, despite coverage that iCable insists it has. It seems unlikely that even iCable would manage to ensure a set number of core matches area aired to the public as required in its agreement with FIFA. In fact, even the three broadcasters agree that those core matches should be broadcasted publicly in the interest of the public.
So how do we get there?

At current, iCable’s offer to TVB and ATV is the right to broadcast core matches on their channels. However, the hitch is that the content will be standardised. Essentially, if you go to TVB or ATV, you would see the same thing as you would on iCable’s free Channel 1.
It’s painfully obvious what iCable wants to achieve. It’s really a rather sly way of getting iCable content (adverts, commentary, logo, studio visuals and its brand) to more audiences by hijacking TVB and ATV’s channels. The alternative would be just to go to iCabel’s channel, which is what it wants people to do. AT the end o the day, we either get iCable content on another channel or we get iCable content on iCable channel.
It certainly seems weird that TVB and ATV should have to pay iCable when they can’t even produce and package the content. After all, to my knowledge, that’s what used to happen in the past.
If anything, iCable has received a fair amount of bad publicity that isn’t go to do it any good, especially if they are made to look like a bully that call’s themselves ‘fair’.

Ultimately, iCable do have legal backing in what they are trying to do. It’s never been done in the past, at least no in Hong Kong. We can only hope that iCable come to their senses and realise that public image and public interest are worth more than a few football matches.

Take a look at The Standard’s coverage for more (http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=95279&sid=27280720&con_type=1)

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