In response to recent concerns of the community in respect of the broadcasting rights of the FIFA World Cup programmes this summer, Mr. Samuel Tsang, Project Manager, CABLE TV 2010 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee, states today (March 3, 2010):
(1) i-CABLE is acting fully in compliance with its Agreement with FIFA.
(2) Under the Agreement, i-CABLE has no obligation to sub-license the 2010 World Cup broadcasting rights to TVB or ATV.
(3) The programme format in which i-CABLE had invited TVB and ATV to bid for broadcasting rights is fully in compliance with our Agreement with FIFA. Furthermore, programmes containing advertisements is becoming more common in the sub-licensing of programming rights worldwide for major international sports events in recent years, and there is nothing extraordinary about the sub-licensing offer we have made to the Free TV operators.
Mr Tsang said, "i-CABLE has over 1 million subscribers. What is wrong with us bidding for the best programmes to serve our subscribers? World Cup broadcasting rights were open for bidding by all Hong Kong television operators, including the two free-to-air stations.
"Of course, we do not know the manner in which the free-to-air stations had made their bids, and if they had submitted a joint bid, but the fact that we are the successful bidder speaks much about the importance the two free-to-air stations had given to the 'viewers' interest' they are talking about. On the contrary, our proposal to let them carry part of the programmes takes care of the interest of all television viewers in Hong Kong."
"We noticed that the two stations said in a press conference last week that they were interested to continue talks about the broadcasting rights, and we have been asked by the media whether there is a possibility of change of position.
"Let me state again that i-CABLE had invited TVB and ATV to bid for broadcasting rights in a fair and reasonable manner, fully in compliance with its Agreement with FIFA. However, the two stations have flatly rejected the offers, and are insisting on joint bidding, which is highly unfair to us as the rights holder.
"According to subsequent media reports, the two stations have stated that they would not carry the programmes even if the programmes are provided to them for free. The stations have not made any further contact with us so far to follow up on the broadcasting rights matter. As such, we will speed up connecting our No. 1 Channel to households for viewers' benefit," Mr Tsang added.
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