Pattaya bar owners have been told they must buy a television set-top box and pay a 2,000 baht license fee to show the Euro 2012 football tournament which kicks off next week, even though the games will be broadcast on free TV.
At a May 24 meeting at the Pattaya Police Station, executives from GMM Grammy Co. which holds the exclusive Thai broadcast rights for the June 8-July 24 tourney, and Deputy Police Superintendent Lt. Col. Kietosak Srathong-ooi announced the plan to force bars and restaurants to buy the TV box to legally show the games.
Police warned the entrepreneurs that anyone who hasn’t bought the license – similar to the “music license” bars are forced to pay simply to play tunes on their premises – will be deemed to be breaking the law and could be subject to fines and/or prosecution.
Bar owners, knowing full well the games are being shown on terrestrial television – which can be shown in any bar or restaurant without a license – see the move as something akin to extortion.
“To show Euro 2012 in the club, I will have to buy a set-top box and pay a 2,000 license fee from the rights holder, even though it will be broadcast live on terrestrial TV,” one long-time Walking Street go-go bar manager complained on the Twitter website May 25.
In Pattaya, GMM Grammy has authorized the Inter Music Copyright Co. Ltd. to be the distributor of the set top boxes, which are also available at 7-Eleven stores and Big C shopping malls around town. For more information, call GMM Grammy on 02 841 8888 or go to their website at www.gmmz.tv.