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Local television broadcaster TVB has submitted a proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), saying it was willing to make a “reasonable payment” to acquire the right to air 200 hours of London Olympic Games coverage, including the opening and closing ceremonies. The deal was notably backed by its counterpart, ATV.
The broadcaster reiterated that once the broadcasting rights are acquired, it will cooperate with ATV to produce and broadcast the Olympic events and related programs. It promised to split the hours equally between the two English channels, Pearl and World.
“With only two weeks left before the opening of the Olympic Games, TVB hopes the IOC can make a decision as soon as possible to meet the demands of Hong Kong residents to watch the games on free television, and also benefit the TV station, make related preparation work as early as possible to provide qualified programs to the residents,” the statement said.
James Shing Pan-yu, executive director of ATV, also told the media that the company is maintaining a positive attitude of cooperation with TVB for the London Olympic Games Programs, and hopes to make an announcement in a day or two.
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Timothy Fok Chun-ting, president of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, said he has noted the latest statement, and he was no different than other people, hoping that the final arrangements for the Olympic Games by IOC could be made as quickly as possible.
He said although the IOC promised earlier that Hong Kong would have free TV access to Olympic programs and that it would arrive at a decision in “one or two days” on Tuesday, the delay is due to some complex business problems.
According to the IOC agreement terms, at least 200 hours of Olympics coverage should be broadcast on free-to-air television channels.
TVB lost out to iCable in a bid for the exclusive broadcasting rights of the London Olympics in Hong Kong in 2007, as the iCable made an offer of about HK$120 million.
i-Cable was required to air 200 hours of the games through free television, however, it was not granted the new free-to-air license before the games. It must negotiate with the two existing free TV broadcasters to meet the contract terms.
TVB has refused i-Cable’s proposal citing harsh conditions. i-Cable had planned to broadcast the Olympic Games through ATV’s World Channel, but ATV later cited some problems such as previous agreement with TVB, and infringing on mainland rights holders in Guangdong. On July 10, i-Cable declared the Guangdong rights issue of ATV has been resolved.