EMTV, Kundu 2 in rights tussle

By Emmanuel Narokobi

It was only a matter of time before something like this was going to pop up. ‘Competition’ the buzz word for PNG in the last 2 years has been applied across our mobile phone industry, soon to be in our Airline industry and now of course our TV stations.

EMTV and Kundu 2’s tussle over the right to telecast the Rugby League World Cup matches has all the signs of the beginning of some very competitive programming to come in the next couple of months (maybe years) and it will be interesting to see which station can work out what we want to see on TV in PNG?

The two stations went to court over the weekend, just hours before the match between England and PNG Kumuls and an injunctive order was sought by NBC to stop EMTV from telecasting the match. But the National Court refused the restraining order and EMTV was able to telecast the game live on Saturday.

EMTV’s chief executive officer Ken Clark claimed that EMTV had reached an agreement with NBC earlier in the week to broadcast the match because National Television Service had limited coverage throughout the country.

But NBC’s managing director Joseph Ealedona said. “I can only say that the NBC has purchased broadcast rights to the World Cup Rugby League and as the CEO of NBC, the NBC has not given these rights to EMTV nor has it given authority to any persons to negotiate on behalf of the NBC,” Mr Ealedona added that the NBC was open for discussions with EMTV as it wanted EMTV to also broadcast the games given NTS currently broadcasts in six major centres only.

https://i0.wp.com/www.nbc.com.pg/Assets/Images/bannerimages/LOGO1.jpg“However, we insist EMTV must get approval from the NBC and despite our attempts to talk to EMTV they have blatantly disregarded this legal broadcast practice. For far too long EMTV has taken PNG for a ride and it is time EMTV is told competition has now begun,” Mr Ealedona said.

I wonder whether EMTV was taking advantage of NBC by ignoring an agreement or whether EMTV had done their own hard work in securing their own rights? It kinda reminds me of the Olympics and how EMTV hardly made any effort to show our PNG atheletes except of course televising Ryan Pini’s race because they could get it cheapely from an Australian TV station.


10 thoughts on “EMTV, Kundu 2 in rights tussle

  1. TV is a great shaper of culture in any country. What sort of popular culture do we want for PNG and who will push TV to give us what we want?

    So to answer those 2 questions it comes down to legal ownership of content, level playing fields for competition when bidding for advertisers and sponsors to pay for programming and at the end of the day enabling a TV industry to push itself to find the best possible content to entertain, inform and educate us.

    Do you want to continue watching re-runs from the 90’s on Sunday nights? Do you want to watch more PNG sports on TV? Do you want to see more in depth news on TV? Well competition will bring that.

  2. A few comments on this interesting topic –

    The more local content produced, the more expensive the programming – resulting in an increase in advertising costs. The station with the biggest reach at the lowest cost will be preferred by the advertiser. Therefore your assumption may be incorrect. Competition will probably bring even worse programming and less local production. You are assuming that people will prefer local content over imported content. In principle that may be true but in practice this is not likely unless the local content is of comparable ‘entertainment’ value… not necessarily technical quality.

    Look locally to Australia and compare commercial programming to what you seen on the ABC and SBS – government supported organisations.

    If the PNG government pumps money into Kundu 2 we might see local content – which would be desirable – but then it will not really be competition will it? I’m sure it will not be paying duty on equipment either. And who is Kundu 2 accountable to anyway?

    You are not going to get the TV that you want. You will get the TV that you can afford. The advertising ‘cake’ in PNG will be re-split with the advent of Kundu 2 but the cake will only increase in size as PNG prospers. Consumers with spending power is what drives commercial free-to-air TV.

    I hope the two TV stations complement each other – not compete with each other. I hope the government invests money in not only local programming but the purchase of overseas programming which is of benefit to the nation – educationally, culturally and of positive influence.

    1. ‘I’m sure it will not be paying duty on equipment either.’

      As an employee of the company who supplies NBC (Kundu 2) with the majority of it’s transmission and production equipment. I can assure you, 1st hand, duty and all relevant taxes are been paid.

      I have to admit, I really find this blog very informative and helpful, as I am not on the ground in PNG at the moment but am headed back very very shortly. It has given me further insight into the current content climate and what Kundu 2’s potential audience is calling for.

      The basis for a 3 camera + green screen setup, with some really really ‘cool’ features is coming with me on my next visit, further enabling production of local content for Kundu 2. My current brief is also to facilitate the production of as much local content as possible and to put to air 10 hours a day of programming.

      Persoanly, I am very passioante about Kundu 2 and feel it could be a great tool in providing educational content as well as entertainment to PNG. I envision it becoming the collective voice of PNG, though it will take time.

      No doubt i will meet you over the next few months, during my time in POM. In the meantime feel free to email me directly with any content ideas you have for Kundu 2. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built!

      1. Thanks Bucko, now that is some promising news. I’ve been meaning to catch up with Kevin Marai to ask how things are going, don’t want people to think that nothing’s happening.

        But yes we cant expect to be an ABC or SBS overnight…but we have to start somewhere.

  3. Thanks RD for your comments.

    You have a good point there in regards to increased costs and I may have been too general in my comments. There are a number of issues here and I’ll try and list them so we can discuss them more thoroughly.

    1) I have produced a video myself which has been playing on Kundu 2. It’s a 7 minute short film which would have cost us about K2,000.00 to make. It was shot over 2 days and took about 7 months of editing by my film partner (in between his working hours). Kundu 2 has paid us K1,000.00 to have the short broadcast 4 times.

    So we have to see whether Kundu 2 (or the Govt) will continue to have the budget to pay for films like this. Yes it will be cheaper to buy from overseas, but you have to have some balance and Kundu 2 needs to have some obligations to developing local content. That is where advertising comes in.

    My rugby club the University Piggies secured over K40,000.00 for 2 years. And we play in a rugby comp in Port Moresby alone. So that’s just an example of what advertisers can afford today.

    Whether advertising costs will go up, I don’t believe it needs to. When you consider the technology available today, production costs should go down. A perfect example is all the home based music studios in PNG. All these musicians create music themselves all they need is a distributor of their artwork.

    I think it will just be another advertising medium for advertisers to choose from in relation to the markets they want to reach.

    2) Yes I agree with you that both stations should compliment each other, because they are actually two different beasts. One is a commercial station and the other is a govt station so their goals and objectives will differ.

    The World Cup tussle as reported was all about NBC paying for the rights to the World Cup and then them seeking EMTV’s assistance to Broadcast only in the areas other than the 6 towns that Kundu 2 could already reach. Unfortunately none of this is legally enforceable as it is more a protocol that each station respect each others wishes on how paid for content should be distributed across both networks.

    The issue arises when advertisers have paid for that content. For example if Telikom paid NBC to advertise throughout the telecast. Then if EMTV goes ahead and shows it in regions not agreed to by Kundu 2, you get the situation where Telikom is getting more coverage than they had agreed on with NBC so Kundu 2 misses out on revenue. In addition if EMTV has organised its own sponsors to be shown on the telecast that it is getting from Kundu 2, then EMTV makes money from NBC and Telikom’s hard earned royalties. You’ll also find that EMTV is potentially missing out on payments from Telikom as well.

    So you can see it can get very complicated but if each station can respect the originator of the content and who is paying for it, then everyone will get their money’s worth when the content is broadcast and everyone wins.

    3) I do not believe both stations will compete with each other, maybe on certain content such as major Sporting and Public Events but in the end they are both very different animals. Its like comparing an SBS with Channel 9.

    So when I talk about ‘competition’ I don’t mean comparing EMTV’s business model with Kundu 2’s business model. I mean competing on the content level so that people get more variety in their TV content in PNG. If one station shows more of what we want then we’ll watch that more, but in the end we should get more of what we want from the variety out there.

    4) Being a government station, I would personally like to see money being put into developing and promoting film makers and content producers within PNG. I’d love to see things like short film competitions (for obvious reasons), maybe a Childrens Current Affairs Programme (an idea from Tania Nugent) and eventually films. But I guess my focus is more on developing culture rather than how much it will cost.

    In the end I am not assuming that people will want more local content. I know that it is easier and cheaper to get international content all I am arguing is that the local market is stable so that local content can be developed to balance out what we get internationally. But if it comes down to money than we will obviously turn to advertisers.

    1. The issues are about quality and meaningful content that can make a tv broadcast company become competitive. Equally important the network infrastructures to effectively deliver the quality content to majority viewers.

      PNG has only two tv stations, and which one of the two, EMTV or KUNDU2 has a wider network infrastructure..
      I suppose these are some of the important factors in determining contract rights to telecast certain programs.

  4. Very interesting progress in recent times, Emtv going toTelikom, Digicel launching its own pay TV in November, would it be fair for good complimentary development, if not in other tangible ares but communication, for Mobile/Vodafon to partner with NBC (Kundu 2) to develop cost effective infrastructure for voice data and visual penetration in PNG. No one really has to cry over spilt milk in this smart communications development that just keeps flowing out as strategies materialize in this land of the unexpected smart communication advancement. PNG, like the gardener chum politician use to say in pioneering Tv content, You beauty!, let’s carve out a ICT industry of our own, with everything PNG-made and who knows in the next century, we could be exporting our innovations and ingenuity to the world.

  5. the ICT world is fast changing and developing unfortunately our ACTs and regulatory services have been caught with expectation from the corporate community. we must accept the challenges that present itself to the market, its all about smart innovative and partnerships…the government has forgotten that it has a duty and responsibility to inform and educate the 7.5million people mainly in the rural areas…kundu stand to benefit the people and government however because digicel has the upper hand with world bank pumping millions into infrastructure development penetrating the core of the country, the government has no choice but to jump on this expensive yet reliable service delivery mechanism…unfortunately someone forgot to switch off the light when digicel opted to purchase tv license and now shortly a commercial radio station….good on you…

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