Another twist to live broadcast saga
The soap opera that surrounds Singapore's "live" broadcast of the Rio Olympics took on another twist yesterday.
The Today newspaper, a daily newspaper under the Mediacorp umbrella, reported yesterday that the national broadcaster has entered into negotiations with Dentsu over "live" telecasts of the Games, which starts tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
This comes just four days after Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Grace Fu reiterated that the broadcast issue is a "commercial" one.
Mediacorp and Dentsu have already inked a deal that provides for delayed telecasts of the Games, with "live" broadcasts of only the opening and closing ceremonies.
Citing unnamed sources, Today reported that Dentsu has approached Mediacorp with an improved offer for "live" broadcasts, and the national broadcaster must decide today if they want to take it up.
Dentsu, the rights holder for 22 countries in Asia, is believed to be asking for a sum lower than its initial US$6 million ($8.06m) offer for "live" action.
The initial offer is more than twice the sum, believed to be about US$2.5m, Mediacorp paid for "live" footage of the 2012 London Olympics.
Dentsu did not respond to queries by The New Paper by press time yesterday.
In response to media queries, a Mediacorp spokesman said: "Our policy is we don't comment on rumours or speculation."
It is believed that the high initial offer, along with the 11-hour time difference, would mean that broadcasters will be hard-pressed to find advertisers to break even.
While the Government has previously stepped in with extra funding for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, MCCY said last month that the Government will not step in for Rio.
The broadcast saga has drawn sharp views from Singaporeans, some of whom believe the Government should not be held ransom by rights holders seeking to maximise profit.
But there are also others who question the wisdom of the move, in the context of celebrating local sporting heroes and building a sports culture here.
Criticism on the Government's decision has also centred on the fact that Singapore may win medals in swimming, table tennis and shooting, which would represent the Republic's best-ever haul from the Games.
Medals from swimming and shooting would also be unprecedented.
Regardless of the decision, the entire broadcast saga is likely to reach its conclusion today.