Mobile IPTV users see Cup blackout

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Mobile IPTV users see Cup blackout

About 3.5 million mobile IPTV subscribers haven’t been able to watch World Cup football matches so far because mobile TV operators have refused to pay the asking price for rebroadcasting rights from KBS, SBS and MBC.

The three mobile carriers say they are willing to negotiate with the terrestrial stations until 7 a.m. tomorrow, when Korea plays Russia in its first World Cup match.

In addition to the three mobile IPTVs - KT’s Olleh TV Mobile, SK Broadband’s B TV Mobile and LG U+’s U+ HDTV - CJ Hellovision and TVing have not been able to carry World Cup matches.

“In the case of cable TV or IPTV, terrestrial TV stations cannot easily enforce a blackout, but it’s different for mobile IPTV,” said a spokesman for an IPTV operator.

Mobile IPTV operators paid retransmission fees to terrestrial TV channels for the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. However, charges for the World Cup were much higher, according to the mobile carriers.

IPTV operators strongly opposed the mobile TV blackout, saying the three IPTV operators recently paid a total of 25 billion won ($24.5 million) to receive terrestrial TV content on the mobile platform this year.

Terrestrial stations reportedly want an additional several billion won for World Cup content. IPTV operators paid 600 million won to 700 million won to retransmit the 2012 London Olympics.

Currently, subscribers of mobile IPTVs must use terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) or portal sites such as Naver and Daum to watch games.

“There is a big difference in opinion as to the retransmission fee proposed by terrestrial TV stations, but we are putting our best efforts into the negotiations so mobile IPTV subscribers can watch the World Cup starting with the Korea vs. Russia match,” said a spokesman for a mobile carrier.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]



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