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Parliament Sitting on 19 February 2018

QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER


*9. Mr Ganesh Rajaram: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether he can provide an update on the securing of broadcast rights for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics; (b) whether the rights have been secured and, if not, why, given that the event is just over two years away; and (c) whether there is a danger of Singaporeans missing out on watching the Games.

Answer:

Mr Speaker, negotiations to secure “live” broadcasting rights for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still ongoing. The negotiations are best left to the broadcasters and rights owners to undertake and conclude, as it would be unwise to take the position that we should have “live” telecasts regardless of the cost, and for the Government to underwrite any amount demanded by rights owners, particularly when the rights are still being negotiated.

2 Over the years, broadcasting rights fees have been growing rapidly. For instance, for the 2016 Rio Olympics broadcasting rights, Dentsu originally wanted to charge three times what it cost to broadcast the 2012 London Olympics “live”. This shows how lucrative the business of broadcasting rights has become. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult for broadcasters to recoup the escalating costs of broadcasting rights, because there are so many cheaper options to watch such sporting events “live”.

3 If the rights owners only seek to maximise their profits, they risk making broadcasts of major games less accessible by driving fans to other media channels or away from the sports entirely. This is in no one’s interest in the long-term.