[UPDATE 13/06/2018]: Unifi TV has announced that World Cup will not be airing on their channel, even though both TV1 and TV2 are part of the platform. This is due to the fact that RTM’s broadcast rights are meant for only Free-To-Air (FTA) broadcasters, while Unifi is an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) service. Instead, it “will replace the broadcast with various selection of top rated entertainment programmes from RTM”.
And now here’s our Minister of Communications and Multimedia with the official wolf mascot, Zabivaka.
[End of update]
Get ready those sunnies to hide your eye bags and list of excuses to tell your boss why you’re late as heck because IT’S WORLD CUP SEASONNN! Only 2 more weeks to go before our favourite players are hitting the field in a total of 64 matches in Russia from 14 June to 15 July.
Here’s some good news for sports fans, Malaysia is gonna air it for FREE. Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will broadcast 41 of the 64 matches. Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said 27 matches would be aired live and the other 14 will be delayed matches.
Life is good. Oh btw, Gobind also said the broadcast will cost about RM40 million…..Whattt?! But we have RM1 trillion debt. And the Ministers need to potong gaji 10% some more. Aren’t we supposed to be saving money?Tan Sri Rais Yatim urged Gobind to explain how they wanna pay for this, and noted that it would be inconsistent with the government’s austerity measures if Putrajaya must pay for the sporting extravaganza.
Ura2 nak guna RM40j utk pesta tayangan bolasepak di rtm mesti di rasionalkn oleh menteri. Adakah jumlah itu dari pengiklan atau huluran kerajaan? Kalau huluran dari kerajaan dasar berjimat cermat tak masuk akal. Pakat dgn Astro kongsi siaran. Selamatkn duit negara.
— RAISYATIM (@DrRaisYatim) May 30, 2018
Gobind said sponsors will pay for it, same as 2014 World Cup
In reply, Gobind Singh explained that the RM40 mil, firstly, is the ceiling cost, which means it might be lower. As we were writing the article, Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng gave a press conference revealing that the bill is thankfully RM10 mil lower.
“The government has allocated RM40 mil for the live broadcast, but the actual cost would be RM30 mil. Part of this would be sponsored through advertisement revenue.” – LGE, Malaysiakini
And that’s the other thing… both LGE and Gobind clarified that the amount is expected to be substantially absorbed by sponsors.
“Setakat ini kita berjaya mendapat sponsor sebanyak RM15 juta …. We’re working on the rest of it, and I think I will have press conferences after this to update everyone as to the status on how much sponsors we have received.” – Gobind, quoted from malaysianews tv video on YouTube
The Minister currently has a list of other sponsors, but he wants to get confirmation in writing before announcing anything publicly, which he promised to do to be transparent.
Just so you know, RTM has been the main broadcaster (free-to-air) for World Cup since the 1974 games hosted in West Germany. Last round, they screened 35 matches during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (24 live and 11 delayed telecasts on its TV1, TV2 and TVi stations). At the time, it cost RM20 mil, though the Government also relied on sponsorship.
“RTM worked hard to secure the funds (to bid for the rights). We didn’t request any extra budget from the Finance Ministry. We felt it was not right to use the taxpayers’ money. We urged the private companies to provide financial sponsor and in return they were given the rights to advertise during the event.” – Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Former Minister of Comm and Multimedia, Sportspromedia.com
In fact, Ahmad Shabery had said in 2014 that securing the rights to air World Cup was expensive and brought up the possibility that the rakyat might have to start paying for live telecasts on TV.
After this, RTM may not try to obtain air rights for other sporting events, Gobind said, coz expensive. It’s just that they made an exception for World Cup COZ IT’S FRIKKIN World Cup. Also, it is part of Pakatan Harapan’s Youth wing’s manifesto, promising to broadcast all international sporting matches including the English Premier League on RTM should they win GE14.
Showing World Cup on RTM is a good way to get Malaysians to win viewers again
If you look at our history, RTM is the first and oldest tv channel, broadcasting on 28 December 1963, just in time for the national New Year celebrations in KL. Some of us remember may even remember the jingle, “RTM teman setiaaa andaaaaaa“ ♩ ♫ Poor RTM was kinda left behind when Astro walked into da club like whaddup I got direct broadcast satellite.
“I think this is one of the ways in which we can promote RTM again. I think this is what we need to do to increase RTM viewership.” – Gobind, The Star
It’s important to note that, advertising expenditure (Adex) is a main revenue source for Free-To-Air (FTA) television (FTAs are your TV1 and TV2, owned by RTM, and TV3, NTV7 and 8TV, owned by Media Prima. On the other spectrum, Pay TV is like Astro and HyppTV).
FTA television Adex raked in RM688 mil in 2014, while Pay TV earned RM327 mil. You can see how it’s a good investment for RTM to pay RM30 mil to air the games, and then earn a profit in advertising.
Overall, the Ministry aims to revamp RTM within 6 months.
Oh nuuuu how will this affect Astro?
Every World Cup season, people will tune in to Astro to watch the matches, whether at home or at the mamak.
This year, it’s no different, it is RM120 for non-Astro customers and RM100 for Astro customers. Click here for more plans.
According to the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia Media Rights Licensees list, the only Malaysian company with media rights is M-League Marketing Sdn. Bhd. (a media rights marketing agency based in KL). They’ve held the rights since 2002 and they then license it to Astro.
CK explained that there are 2 types of broadcasting rights for the World Cup tournament – Pay TV and FTA. Therefore, Astro’s coverage is paid, whilst RTM’s is not. So what happens to Astro now that RTM gets to show it too?
But let’s not forget, Astro has something RTM doesn’t… access to ALL 64 matches LIVE in HD, whereas RTM will be showing 41, of which 14 are delayed broadcasts (in 2014, RTM had fewer, which is 35 matches). So, fans who don’t want to miss any of the matches would still turn to Astro.
Besides, RTM has memang been showing the games since 1974 anyway, long before Astro came into existence in 1996. In 2014, Astro still recorded 80,000 downloads for its Astro On-The-Go app during World Cup.
Oh and you know what else?
“Selected matches will also be available for free on Astro Arena to all Malaysians via NJOI Now and Astro GO apps.” – CK
Last time, we sponsored our own World Cup
At the end of the day, it looks like a smart move for the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to bring the games to the screen because they will profit from tv advertising and boost RTM’s viewership.
Never underestimate Malaysian football fans, even if RTM had chosen not to air it, people will find a way to watch it. These days it’s easy coz we have Astro and internet, but did you know that in 1982, when RTM was going to give airing World Cup a miss due to lack of funds, the rakyat actually gave them money to pay for the telecast?
On 14 June, The Malay Mail reader Peter Teo, who went with the pseudonym ‘Soccer Fanatic’ suggested to the paper’s now defunct Hotline team that football fans would not mind paying a ringgit each to help pay for the telecasts. In just days, the idea took the nation by storm and the People’s Live Telecast Fund was launched on the 19th.
“The PLTF collection trebled to RM730 on Sunday (20 Jun), jumped to RM5,000 on Monday, quadrupled to RM20,000 on Tuesday, almost doubled to RM40,000 on Wednesday, and shot past the target to RM66,116.45 on Thursday.” – Chan, then Malay Mail’s entertainment and assistant news editor, NST
By the end of it, Malaysians raised RM300,000, enough to pay for 5 matches. The proudest moment was when the words, “DiTaja Oleh Rakyat Malaysia” (sponsored by the people of Malaysia) beamed across their tv and were announced each time these matches were telecast live. :’)