BANGKOK — Thailand’s state media regulator is considering punishing entertainment conglomerate RS International for failing to broadcast several FIFA World Cup matches on free TV channels.
RS initially won the exclusive rights to broadcast all World Cup matches in Thailand via its "TV boxes," but was later ordered by the military junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to air all 64 matches on army-owned channels for free.
In return, RS would receive 427 million baht in compensation from the state’s media regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC).
However, football fans across the country were baffled over the weekend when RS refused to broadcast two major matches on state television: the Brazil v. Chile match on 28 June and the Holland v. Mexico match on 29 June.
The two matches were only accessible on televisions that subscribed to RS broadcasting services, leading Thakorn Tantasit, secretary-general of the NBTC, to accuse the RS of violating its agreement with the NBTC.
"The NBTC agreed to give funds [to RS] for all 64 watches to be broadcast on public free TV, so that all Thais would be able to watch every match," said Mr. Thakorn today. "So the NBTC has instructed RS to obey the agreement and broadcast the rest of the matches on free TV."
He added that the NBTC is currently considering decreasing the amount of money to be paid to RS.
"We are considering the damages caused by the incident," Mr. Thakorn said.
According to Mr. Thakorn, RS representatives said it was a delay in securing FIFA's permission to broadcast the matches on public TV that forced RS to refrain from airing the matches on 28 and 29 June.
RS has now secured permission from FIFA and will broadcast the rest of the matches on public TV channels starting tonight, Mr. Thakorn said.
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