True Visions warns rivals about overspending on Premier League rights

Attaphon na Bangxang, the chief content officer at Thai pay-television operator True Visions, warned rival broadcasters about the dangers of overpaying for sports content rights ahead of the auction for the next cycle of English Premier League rights, for the 2013-14 to 2015-16 period.

True Visions has the rights for the league in the current cycle, from 2010-11 to 2012-13, in a deal worth about $17 million per year. New players that have emerged in the Thai pay-television market since the last rights auction, such as RS and GMM Grammy, are expected to challenge True Visions for the rights in the upcoming auction.

“Competition in any business is normal,” Bangxang told the Nation newspaper. “Sport content is attractive but most sport-content providers and suppliers agree that the bidding fees can kill or destroy the business itself. If the fee is too expensive and the company can’t break even, they won’t bid again.”

Addressing the upcoming Premier League auction more specifically, Bangxang said: “The new bidders don’t know how much they should offer. They have to think hard and carefully. One of the most special features of the Premier League is that the rights fee is expensive. So it could be bad luck in disguise for the rights winner. They also need to know how to manage the rights or they may get lost.”

Bangxang said True Visions was in a strong position compared to its rivals because it had a stronger existing subscriber base of around one million customers.

He said: “I think we will secure the rights because we know the real or exact figure of the bid.”

He added that True Visions would share some rights for the Premier League with free-to-air television if it wins them. Last month, True Visions chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont said the company would bid alone for the rights, but would be open to sublicensing them on to rival pay-television broadcaster GMM Grammy.

The rights are expected on the market later this year or early next year.