THE world of TV can be a cutthroat business with operators trying to squeeze maximum dollar out of every possible minute of programming. That’s why it matters as to who holds the rights to sports events such as Super Rugby, the World Cup – rugby, netball, soccer – and to a lesser extent, rugby league. But in PNG, rugby league is the main sport after years of Australian influence.
Whoever holds the NRL broadcast rights in that country has an immediate advantage. And so Telikom PNG has been forced to consider paying an extra $US1.5million for its purchase of 100 per cent of Media New Guinea Limited from Fiji TV. Nobody really wants to talk about the issue but Fijian Holdings CEO and Fiji TV chairman Nouzab Fareed did offer a sliver of light on the deal in a market announcement.
Fareed said the deal between Fiji TV and Telikom PNG on the sale of Media Niugini was intact and all conditions had been met by both parties. But there is a specific sporting right which Fiji TV is trying to resolve with Telikom PNG. And there it is – the rights to NRL broadcasts. If Telikom PNG decides to bite the bullet it will, in effect, end up paying 32million Kina for MNL. Signs are that the deal is likely to go ahead.
PNG sources say a multinational corporation involved in telecommunications has now expressed interest and will move in if Telikom wants to give up on negotiations with Fiji TV. That could be the tipping point which forces Telikom to pay the extra money and seal the deal.
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