Keeping India as a yardstick, Malaysian national broadcaster Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) has been able to convince the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to knock down the broadcasting fee for the forthcoming Busan Asian Games. As against the original $550,000 for all telecast rights (satellite and terrestrial), Malaysian broadcaster RTM will now pay only $400,000.
Interestingly, India has been a talking point all through the negotiation process. Reason: While Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan acquired the Games telecast rights at a much lower $350,000, most others were asked to pay a ‘‘steep’’ fee. OCA has given DD’s high viewership as the official explanation behind fixing a lower telecast fee for it. DD National, with an estimated viewership of 79.3 million households, along with pay channel DD Sports, will telecast the Games live and also show recording of the events.
Even as Malaysia’s RTM and OCA have been in a tussle over the amount of the telecast fee, leading to speculation that there may not be any live telecast of the Games at all, the dust seems to have settled now.
The telecast fee issue is likely to be discussed at the OCA’s general body and executive council meeting in Busan on September 28, a day before the Games begin. All the secretary generals representing 44 national Olympic committees in Asia, including those from Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines and India will attend the meeting.
The fee for Asian Games telecast rights was originally fixed at $550,000 for several countries including Malaysia. But RTM refused to pay that much, and offered $200,000 instead. OCA turned down RTM’s offer and instead reduced the fee to $500,000. The bargaining between the two continued, and RTM threw up another offer to OCA—this time it was $300,000. All this while, the telecast fee that India and The Philippines were paying, $350,000 and $110,000 respectively, were being thrown up for comparison.
Finally, when the Malaysian government started attacking the authorities for arbitrary telecast fee, the OCA quoted the final price—$400,000. And, RTM settled for that much, ending the long suspense over whether Malaysia would get to watch the live telecast of the Asian Games or not.