RS protects World Cup pay-TV rights as legal action concludes
Rebecca Hawkes
| 13 June 2014
RS International will retain its exclusive Thai broadcast rights to the FIFA World Cup 2014 following a court ruling against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The Supreme Administrative Court also ruled that 22 matches including the semi finals and final will be available on free-to-air Channel 7 and digital TV channel 8, as agreed previously by RS International.

Thai pay-TV operator True Visions has also this week reached agreement with RS International to broadcast all 64 matches of the World Cup finals.

RS acquired the World Cup broadcasting rights in September 2005, well before the NBTC introduced the 'must carry' rule in January 2013. Under the rule, seven major sports events including the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup must be shown on free-to-air TV as well as on pay-TV platforms.

RS filed a lawsuit against the NBTC in early April complaining the 'must carry' rule to broadcast all World Cup football games on free-to-air TV channels is unfair and unlawful.

NBTC is now reportedly proposing it use THB427 million (US$13.16 million) from the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research Development Fund for the Public Interest (BTFP) to pay RS for the right to broadcast all 64 World Cup matches on free-to-air TV. This initiative is, the regulator says, in line with the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) policy to 'return happiness to the public'