English Premier League broadcasting rights have got Vietnamese television stations in a twist.
On June 13, local television stations VTC, SCTV, HTV, Viettel and AVG jointly inked a proposal requiring Vietnam Association of Pay-TVs (VNPayTV) for support in removing K+’s exclusive rights for the English Premier League (EPL) transmission in Vietnam.
The rights to air live matches in Vietnam now belongs to France-based Canal+, who is believed to transfer them to K+ – a Vietnam-based joint venture with Canal+ holding a 49 percent stake, while Vietnam Television (VTV) owns the remaining 51 per cent.
The proposal stipulates that the VTV holds a decisive role relevant to the transmission of EPL live matches on its diverse channels (including K+). VTV, which leads the EPL negotiation board needs to work with IMG Media, the legal sales agent of EPL in Vietnam, on sharing of EPL transmission right with other Vietnamese TV stations and the cost for EPL live matches transmission for 2013-2016 should not exceed 20 per cent of the previous period.
If there was no common voice with IMG Media and EPL organisers, the EPL negotiation board members and local TV stations would not transmit EPL matches during 2013-2016 on any TV channels.
Earlier, on a June 2013 meeting between EPL negotiation board and IMG Media, the management board affirmed its stance of not accepting EPL exclusive transmission rights in Vietnam under any form.
A Vietnamese TV station representative said the VTV was assigned to lead EPL negotiations with IMG Media and then ‘the VTV shall be held responsible for today’s outcome’.
The story on sharing EPL transmission right began two months ago, after K+ announced on its website of continuing exclusive transmissions of EPL best matches in three year period 2013-2016.
Later, IMG deputy chairman and IMG Asia-Pacific chief representative Chris Guinness sent a reply not agreeing for Canal+ to share EPL transmission rights to Vietnamese TV stations to VTV deputy director Nguyen Thanh Luong, who leads EPL negotiation board.
On May 7, the negotiation board sent a dispatch to Ministry of Information and Communications’ Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information asking for its instructions for VTV to ask its member VSTV, the owner of K+, to reject EPL’s transmission from Canal+, paving the way for the negotiation board, TV station representatives and pay-TVs to continue negotiating on EPL transmission rights.
On June 10, the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information sent a dispatch to EPL negotiation board, asking VTV to take action to balance the benefits of TV stations and TV audiences.
The dispatch also reminded VTV of the fact that the VTV held a decisive role relevant to the transmission of EPL programmes on its channels, including K+ system, and that the licence on TV programme production was honoured on VTV but not its member units.
VTC Digital Television deputy director Vu Quang Huy said since the VTV was heading the negotiation board it should act for the interests of the majority.
Until this time, VTV has yet to give any official response to these proposals and K+ has remained silent on the case.
By Huu Tuan