After going to court to protect its land, True Corp says it aims to please the Thai people
Customers enjoy a drink while watching the World Cup football matches at a bar in Bangkok. (photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
The last two World Cup matches will be available for free on all Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) platforms, says True Corp, which earlier went to court to protect what it said were exclusive broadcast rights.
Co-chair Tiradit Domrongpalasitre said True will not charge competing platforms for live broadcasts of the bronze medal match between Morocco and Croatia at 10pm on Saturday and the France-Argentina final at 10pm on Sunday.
He reaffirmed that True has the sole right to provide the live broadcast of the World Cup via IPTV, saying that it made a decision to please the Thai people.
“This is to allow Thai people nationwide to watch matches without any restrictions through IPTV. … IPTV service providers can submit their applications to True Group and it will include measures to prevent copyright infringements,” said Mr. Tiradit.
He said that transferring and modifying live World Cup matches via other platforms such as applications and websites is still prohibited.
He added that the IPTV operators who got a favor from True can return the favor in the future.
Broadcasting the World Cup has been the subject of controversy and tussle between state agencies since the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) reached a last-minute deal to acquire the rights from FIFA. True contributed 300 million baht to the total cost of 1.4 billion baht, and SAT awarded the company exclusive rights to 32 of the 64 matches in the tournament.
The agreement with SAT also stated that True had the sole right to broadcast the matches via IPTV. This left about a million households that subscribe to other IPTV providers, such as AIS Play, staring at blank screens. A court later issued an injunction at True’s request to ban competing platforms.
But the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which gave SAT 600 million baht to help pay for the rights, says the arrangement violated the “must carry” rule for major sporting events. She is demanding that the SAT return the money or face a lawsuit.
NBTC maintains that in return for its money, it has asked SAT to ensure that World Cup broadcasts will be available on any platform.