Wednesday, July 30, 2014   




Fok raises free-TV squabble with IOC

Phila Siu

Monday, July 09, 2012


Hong Kong's top sports official has written to the International Olympic Committee to raise his concerns after a deal to air the London Games on a free channel apparently fell apart.

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, said he informed IOC president Jacques Rogge that there is still no deal in place between rights holder i-Cable and ATV and TVB.

Last month, ATV said it planned to accept i-Cable's offer and broadcast the Olympics on its English-language World channel, though it was only allowed to show 400 minutes of its own commercials during the 250 hours of broadcasts.

But last week i-Cable and ATV said negotiations have been put on hold because ATV broadcasts are widely seen in the Pearl River Delta region and this may infringe on the exclusive rights of mainland stations.

TVB has already rejected i-Cable's offer, saying the requirements are "unreasonable."

But a TVB spokesman said it still adopts an open attitude over how a deal can be struck.

Fok also said i-Cable is required to broadcast part of the Olympics - at least 200 hours - on a free-TV channel under the terms of its agreement.

Rogge said earlier i-Cable will be stripped of its broadcasting rights if its reach to audiences is not adequate.

ATV executive director James Shing Pan- yu said his station is "actively striving" to air the Olympics.

"I hope it can be broadcast on our free- TV channel and serve the people," he said. "At the
same time I hope everything will be done according to our principles."

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung, meanwhile, is confident Hongkongers will be able to see the Olympics on free-to-air channel.

"I think they should step up communication to solve the problem," So said.

"But, of course, commercial interests are involved and so it is not suitable for the government to interfere. On the other hand, I do believe that the senior management of these stations are very clear about the government and the public's hopes to see the Olympics on free channels.

"And that is why I am full of hope."

Some members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong protested outside the government headquarters, demanding the government step in so that Hongkongers can watch the Olympics on free channels.

The Games will run from July 27 to August 12.


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