Fewer options to catch athletes live in action

Singapore has refused to pay for live telecasts of sporting action from the Rio Olympics. But what is the scene like for the rest of the region?

Taiwan is sending a record number of athletes to these Olympics but fans will have fewer channels to catch the action live.

New media company Elta TV and two free-to-air television networks, Formosa TV and Public Television Service (PTS), are the only broadcasters providing live coverage of the Rio Games, which will feature 53 Chinese Taipei athletes competing in 18 sports.

This is a far cry from previous editions of the Olympics, when Elta TV and at least five of the island's free-to-air networks had rights to the live broadcast.

This time, many broadcasters are said to be deterred by the huge price tag for the broadcast rights, which were sold by media-buying company Dentsu.



    • Elta TV (private)

    • Formosa TV (private)

    • Public Television Service (independent)


    Elta reportedly paid NT$350million (S$14.8 million); the other two did not disclose.


    • ELTA: 2,500 hours live on 14 dedicated IPTV channels and 500 hours of video-on-demand clips

    • Formosa TV: On four free-to-air and cable channels.

    • PTS: On three free-to-air channels.


    Elta has exclusive broadcast rights for the football World Cup, English Premier League and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Elta TV reportedly paid more than NT$350 million (S$14.8 million) to Dentsu to get the exclusive broadcast rights in Taiwan. This cost 50 per cent more than the rights for the 2012 London Games and double the cost for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Elta TV's public relations manager Roger Lee told The Straits Times: "It might be more expensive this time around but this is a national event and we want to be behind our athletes who have trained so hard to win a medal."

Elta TV will broadcast more than 2,500 hours of live action over 14 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) channels and mobile apps in English and Mandarin. Some 500 hours of highlights or delayed telecast will be made available on the video-on-demand clips.

The company, which is allowed to sell the rights to a third party within Taiwan, managed to defray the cost by striking last-minute deals last week with privately-owned Formosa TV and public broadcaster PTS.

Elta TV is also stepping up its efforts to sell more advertising space on its multimedia channels.

Formosa TV and PTS will provide live coverage on their free-to-air and cable channels.

Sports enthusiast Edward Guo said: "I was thinking of subscribing to the IPTV but I'm glad I can save the money and catch them on national TV."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Fewer options to catch athletes live in action'. Print Edition | Subscribe