K+ wins English Premier League broadcast rights after multi-network deal falls through

By Lan Phuong, Thanh Nien News

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K+ has won exclusive rights to broadcast English Premier League matches for the next three seasons from 2016-2019. Photo: Reuters K+ has won exclusive rights to broadcast English Premier League matches for the next three seasons from 2016-2019. Photo: Reuters

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K+, a pay TV joint venture between national broadcaster VTV and France's Canal+, has obtained the rights to broadcast the English Premier League in Vietnam after a group of local networks failed to strike a deal.
MP & Silva, which owns the league’s broadcast rights, on Monday announced that negotiations were completed and K+ will broadcast EPL 2016-2019 seasons in Vietnam.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed. A source said it was less than what the Vietnam Pay Television Association had offered.
The matches will also be available to subscribers of VTVCab, MyTV, Viettel, FPT and Hanoicab, which have K+ sports channels in their packages.
Earlier, the Ministry of Information and Communications had ordered the Vietnam Pay Television Association and its member networks to sit down and negotiate together to make sure they will not end up paying too much for the matches.
More than 10 years ago, EPL was broadcast live for free in Vietnam. But pay TV channels started a harsh competition, driving the price from US$3.9 million in 2008-2010 to $38 million in 2013-2016.
The Vietnam Pay Television Association agreed to pay no more than $46 million, about 20 percent more than the previous period.
However, MP & Silva rejected the offer, saying such a deal with multiple group members would violate broadcast rights regulations. 
K+ then unilaterally reached an agreement with MP & Silva. 
The joint venture itself is not doing well financially. Media reports said the six-year-old business has piled up nearly VND2 trillion ($88.52 million) in losses. 
With a slate of sports channels as its main selling point, K+ had more than 800,000 subscribers at the end of last year, compared to 95,600 in 2009 when it was launched.
In comparison, its major rivals had between 2 and 2.3 million subscribers.

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