Thai Junta Offers Free Live World Cup Matches After Agreeing To Pay $12.8M
Thais "will get to watch live FIFA World Cup matches for free," after the junta-run administration agreed to pay S$16M ($12.8M) to broadcast them, according to Tan Hui Yee of the STRAITS TIMES. The last-minute deal "is the latest in a series of perks arranged by the junta seeking to 'return happiness' to the people some three weeks after seizing control of the kingdom" (STRAITS TIMES, 6/12). In N.Y., Watts & Chomchuen reported the generals acted after telecom regulator National Broadcasting and Telecoms Commission lots its cause twice to have RS Public Company, which won exclusive World Cup broadcast rights, to air all the matches on free TV channels. The country's two free-to-air channels "had an agreement with RS to show only 22 matches." The fee offered by the regulators "is almost half" of the 766M baht ($23M) that RS had proposed to make up for the loss of revenue from the sales distribution of its set-top boxes and sublicensing fees (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/12). The BANGKOK POST reported the army's Channel 5 "will broadcast 38 matches, including the opening and the closing ceremonies," the army-frequency owned Channel 7 will show 29 matches and cable Channel 8, operated by RS, will broadcast 56 matches. Some matches "would be aired by more than one channel" (BANGKOK POST, 6/12).