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Mediacorp re-negotiates with Dentsu related to the live broadcasting of Rio Olympics

With only 1 day away from the quadrennial sporting events' Opening Ceremony, which will be held on 6 August 2016, Today, Singapore's local newspaper that is 60% owned by Mediacorp and 40% owned by Singapore Press Holdings, writes that Mediacorp is re-negotiating with the Olympics broadcast right holders Dentsu to be able to broadcast live sporting action from Rio de Janeiro.

The event will be held for 16 days, starting on 6 August to 22 August 2016.

The initial agreement was signed by Mediacorp and Dentsu, allows Mediacorp to broadcast delayed screenings of the sporting action at the Rio Olympic.

TODAY wrote that a source has said that Mediacorp has been offered a reasonable price and that the two organisations are making compromises.

“After the initial deal was made for the delayed telecast, it should supposedly be set in stone. But this is now being re-looked again. This is now the final window of chance to bring live sporting action from Rio to Singapore viewers,” he said.

The reports before said that Dentsu asked as much as S$8 million. Today's source said that the actual price Dentsu asked is lower than the amount mentioned.

For the 2012 London Olympics, Mediacorp was said to have paid as much S$4.7 million for the free-to-air fees, including technical costs which was estimated to be over than S$1.3 million.

In an International Olympic Committee (IOC) tender in 2013, Dentsu won the Olympic broadcast right for 22 Asian territories, including Singapore, and have struck free-to-air and pay television deals in most of these territories. Among other countries in South-Asia, Singapore and Myanmar was the only two countries who did not sign up for live telecasts.

In June, Starhub and Singtel, two pay-TV operators in Singapore, have declined the offer by Dentsu.

Earlier on 31 July, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu dashed hopes that the Singapore government would step forward with additional fundings to allow live coverage of the Olympic in Rio.

She said to reporters, “Obviously, the whole country is very excited. This time around the Olympics is important to us; many of our athletes train very, very hard. But obviously it’s 30 hours away, the time zone is different, so I think, while Singaporeans are still very concerned and very interested in the performance of our athletes, I’m sure many of them will try to catch up and watch it at a later date.”

Brazilian time is 11 hours behind Singapore.

Some has also commented that the live broadcasting is not necessary since it will be to late for them to watch the show.

Singapore Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan wrote on his Facebook page, “How many people are really going to stay up until the wee hours to watch? I think this fuss is being kicked up by some -- how many I don't know but I suspect not a majority or even a substantial minority of the overall population -- diehard sports fans and others latching on to them for other agendas."

“Are our sports men and women going to do better because some of their compatriots are staying up late bleary eyed to watch them on a box half way around the globe? They already know Singaporeans hope they will do well and I am sure they will do their best anyway. And it is not as if you are going to wait weeks to know the results or watch the highlights."

“Investing in sports infrastructure is a practical way of encouraging sports and it does not follow that the government must lay out enormous sums for live broadcasts; the money can be better used in other practical ways to promote sports.”

Elected member of the Singapore Swimming Association and former journalist, Jose Raymond would certainly disagree with the Ambassador's comment as he had earlier expressed his disappointment on his Facebook page,

“Representing the swimming fraternity, it is almost impossible for me to be neutral on this matter. Especially when Joseph Schooling's finals for the 100m fly and 100m freestyle are at 9am and 10am respectively. Different time zone yes, but not at a time when Singaporeans are asleep. In fact, this would have been perfect for students in school, people at work and the community to gather and let the world pass by and watch history being made. Together."

"With so much having been invested in sports development, sports infrastructure, in having our athletes prepare for the Olympics, and in trying to inspire a sporting culture in Singapore, perhaps the public should be told why the Government isn't willing to invest in live broadcast for the Olympics, especially when this would have been a time for a nation to unite, for bonds to be built within communities, and for a sport culture to be further enhanced.”

For this Olympics at Rio, Singapore has sent 25 athletes to the event and some of them are expected to have a high chance at winning medals in their respective sporting events.

One of such hopefuls is Joseph Schooling who won the men's 100m butterfly event at the Longhorns Elite Invite meet in Austin, Texas, on 3 June (US time). He finished 51.58 seconds to finish ahead of Michael Phelps, 51.65 sec who holds the world record of the event.