Last update 11/13/2010 11:06:00 PM (GMT+7)

K+ and HCTV tense for football broadcasting rights

VietNamNet Bridge – Hanoi Cable Television (HCTV) will continue to broadcast Sunday matches of the English Premier League (EPL) if K+ and MP&Silva can’t demonstrate their exclusive right, stated HCTV director Le Dinh Cuong after airing a match between Liverpool and Arsenal last Sunday.

Exclusive broadcasting rights hit football audience

K+ and other television broadcasters have not reached any agreement on sharing broadcasting rights for EPL matches on Sunday. However, the first Super Sunday match of the new EPL was carried on True Sports channel of HCTV on August 15 and some provincial TV channels like An Giang, Can Tho, Bac Ninh, Nha Trang, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Da Lat, Quy Nhon and Hai Phong.

K+ and MP&Silva announced that it holds exclusive right for Sunday matches in Vietnam, so HCTV was accused of illegally airing the match between Liverpool and Arsenal last Sunday.

However, HCTV responded that it bought the right to broadcast True Sports channel of Thailand’s TrueVision group in Vietnam. This channel has many other sports programs, not only EPL. HCTV still airs this channel everyday.

HCTV’s director Le Dinh Cuong commented: “We didn’t know that True Sports would air the Liverpool-Arsenal match last Sunday night. We transferred all programs on this channel in Vietnam, not intentionally airing the EPL Sunday match. In this case, we didn’t do anything wrong to K+. It is unable to say that HCTV violated copyright law or the international convention on competition. We also didn’t violate Vietnamese laws or harm the people’s interests.”

According to Cuong, K+ will have to work with True Sports. “If True Sports stops broadcasting Sunday matches, we will be unable to air them in Vietnam. Otherwise, HCTV will continue airing these matches if K+ can’t demonstrate that it hold the exclusive right for Sunday matches in Vietnam. HCTV has no duty to work with K+ or MP&Silva,” Cuong added.

K+ confirmed it would protect its copyright and the interests of K+ subscribers. General Director Cao Van Liet remarked: “We have evidence that some local broadcasters transferred the Sunday match from some channels that are not licenced in Vietnam via satellite or transferred the match from K+1 channel without our permission. This is illegal and we will work with the broadcasting rights provider and competent agencies to stop this. There are many broadcasters with the right to air EPL matches on Saturday and Sunday, but for Sunday matches, VSTV is the only one holding the broadcasting rights in Vietnam.”

According to K+, to have the right to air a foreign TV channel in Vietnam, broadcasters must have two licences granted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) to the owner of the foreign channel and the Vietnamese partnerts. However, True Sports doesn’t have such a licence from the MoIC so there is no local broadcaster with a licence to air True Sports in Vietnam.

MoIC’s Radio Television Broadcast and Electronic Information Luu Vu Hai responded that the agency would consider this case. However, K+ must to show its exclusive contract.

K+ is negotiating with some local broadcasters to add K+’s two channels with EPL Sunday matches and matches of Serie A (Italy) and La Liga (Spain) to these partners’ system. However, K+ only cooperates with broadcasters using digital technology, not analog.

Vietnamese TV channels that broadcast the EPL: Saturday and Monday matches on Bong Da TV and The Thao TV (Vietnam Cable Television – VCTV), VTC-HD (VTC), HTV2 (HCM City Television), SCTV15 (Saigon Tourist Cable TV), K+ (VSTV) and H1 and H2 (Hanoi Television). EPL Sunday matches are only on K+.