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Saturday, June 10, 2006
  Another load of balls

So you're a football fan wanting to watch the World Cup live from Germany? You want the full works, the Opening Ceremony, the detailed analysis of which player has a delicate touch for his size, a broken metatarsal, a blonde wife or boyfriend?

Well, if you're in Indonesia you can forget it unless you've subscribed to a special satellite decoder called Matrix. Those of us who thought that we'd paid a subscription to ESPN and Star Sports via Indovision or Kabelvision in order to watch our countries' young men fight with valour for the honour of representing us on our field of dreams (don't you love clichés?) are going to be disappointed.

And the war analogy is, I feel, a good one. We're only going to get the heavily censored highlights (if we're lucky). This was a car bomb in Basra and a stunned crowd grieving. That was a Crouch goal and a stunned crowd disbelieving. It's all the same, the aftermath and none of the foreplay. Where's the fun?

I've spoken to a rather smug young man in SCTV, the terrestial TV service which is showing the games. I asked him why they didn't show the Opening Ceremony last night and, of course, the answer was, predictably, that they hadn't bought the rights. This probably means that they haven't bought the rights to the presentation of the Jules Rimet Cup either. If so, it's going to be an unfulfilling romance, a wham-bang-thank-you-ma'am affair.

I've also spoken to a pleasant and helpful young lady at Indovision, my DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite) TV provider. She told me that the only enquiries she'd had this morning mirrored mine. Such has been the volume of complaints that there is going to be a conference with SCTV later today in order to see if a compromise can be worked out. You see, apparently, only one TV company per country has been awarded a license to broadcast the World Cup.

However, ESPN is not an Indonesian company; the talking heads we see are based in Singapore. Given the relatively small number of subscribers to DBS TV channels ~ 120,000 residential and 17,000 hotel rooms ~ when I last checked, and the potential Indonesian audience of 100+ million (if only the guys watch), then I would have thought a bit of generosity could be shown.

However, would you like a conspiracy theory?

You already know that Jakartass likes to indulge in a bit of Soeharto bashing. Well, this is another opportunity.

Google 'Who owns Surya Citra Media?' and you will discover that SCTV's shareholders include the Indika Group. The youngest son of Sudwikatmono, Soeharto's cousin, Agus Lasmono, is the chairman of Indika which has 14.42% shares in PT Surya Citra Media Tbk, the listed company that controls SCTV. Mr Lasmono sits as one of the commissioners. Other commissioners are General (retired) Suyono and Siti Hediyati (Soeharto's daughter).

Soeharto's second son Bambang Trihatmodjo is the President Director of Bimantara which, according to this page has a stake in SCTV. However, I can't find corrobation of this. However, according to Yosef Ardi, Bimantara controls three major TV stations, RCTI, TPI and Global TV as well as a network of radio stations.

In an article by Bill Guerin published in October last year, I learned that Indovision is now owned by ethnic-Chinese tycoon Liem Sioe Liong's Salim Group and Kabelvision by the Lippo conglomerate founded by ethnic-Chinese tycoon James Riady. Both were cronies of Suharto in the good old bad days of the New Order. Given that the DBS satellite channels command very little advertising revenue in Indonesia, is it not conceivable that by having just the one channel carrying the World Cup, they can, without competition, charge the highest prices for advertising airtime?

And carve up the income?

Update 2.30 pm
Obviously this is today's hottest story here. If I use Indosat dialup connection service to access the internet, a pop up message window appears. The latest informs Indosat subscribers how to watch the World Cup ~ ekslusifitas siaran dari pemilik lisensi terhadap stasiun SCTV (sebagai official bradcaster FIFA World Cup 2006). Sebagai alternatif, siaran World Cup 2006 dapat dinikmati melalui Antena Terestrial / Antena Lokal.

Footnote
I apologise for not giving you greater depth but my information sources and resources are basically the same as yours ~ search engines. If you are really interested in research reports on the Indonesian TV industry then you are welcome to pay £650.00 + VAT for the entire BASIC PACKAGE. You can also access to the INDONESIA TV MARKET WATCH / PREMIUM PACKAGE or ON-DEMAND PACKAGE and customise your research reports.
 

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1:30 p.m.
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