UEFA contract change urged on blackouts
Satellite TV customers might be able to view live broadcasts of the Euro 2012 tournament if the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) agrees to change its contract with GMM Grammy, which holds the broadcast rights in Thailand, to extend those rights to other satellite TV platforms.Those would probably include PSI, IPM and TrueVisions satellite dishes equipped with conditioned access (CA) systems.
Music and entertainment giant GMM Grammy yesterday faced heavily pressure both from a consumer-rights group and the government to renegotiate its deal with Uefa to allow free TV providers ThaiTV3, the Royal Army's TV5 and MCOT's Modernine TV to transmit the satellite signal of live matches to satellite TV receivers.
Satellite TV customers need a set-top box equipped with the CA system to encrypt and control transmissions of the copyrighted programmes within the Kingdom to meet current Uefa rules.
In a discussion hosted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission yesterday, Boonyuen Siritham, chairman of the Confederation of Consumer Organisations, urged the NBTC to protect consumer rights, as more than 10 million satellite TV viewers had been suffering from blank screens since Euro 2012 began last Friday.
NBTC commissioner Supinya Klangnarong, speaking as the moderator of the discussion, appealed to GMM Grammy to explain the current situation to the rights owner (Uefa) and urge it to allow authorised free-TV operators to pass along the live matches via satellite TV signals soon to protect consumer rights.
In a separate discussion, the House of Representatives panel on consumer protection and communications also called in all relevant parties, including the NBTC, TrueVisions and GMM Grammy, urging GMM to call for a new round of negotiation with Uefa to resolve this problem.
Dew Waratangtagoon, managing director for platform strategy at Grammy content provider GMM Z, said yesterday that the company understood the situation and had asked Uefa to change the contract to extend the broadcast rights as per the requests of the NBTC and the House panel on consumer protection and communications.
"We expect to receive the answer from Uefa shortly and report the result to the permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office" early this afternoon, Dew said.
Teerayuth Boonchote, senior vice president for broadcast at Thaicom, the parent company of DTV, a satellite broadcast partner for Euro 2012, said that if Uefa allowed those free TV providers to do so, the company would also request a change in its contract.