The era of watching professional baseball for free is over…TVing Preferred Negotiator to ignite controversy over pay for professional baseball

TVing was selected as the preferred bidder for the KBO’s wired and wireless broadcasting rights, which was a pressing concern. When the negotiations are finalized, TVing will have the right to do business by monopolizing the right to broadcast wired and wireless baseball for the next three years. However, as the era of paying for professional baseball games and content viewing, which the industry and fans were concerned about, is expected to open in earnest, fierce controversy is expected.

“CJ ENM Co., Ltd. has been selected as the preferred bidder for the 2024-2026 KBO League’s wired and wireless broadcasting rights project,” KBO said in a press release. “KBO plans to hold detailed negotiations with the selected companies for preferred negotiation.” “When the negotiations are finalized, we plan to announce the size and key matters of the contract.” CJ ENM plans to provide professional baseball services through its OTT TVing.

The so-called “new media” broadcasting rights were held by the consortium of telecommunications and portal sites (Naver Kakao, ktLG Uplus, SK Broadband) from 2019 to 2023. At that time, the company signed a five-year contract worth a total of 110 billion won (126 million U.S. dollars). The amount far exceeded the previous contract (46.5 billion won or 4.31 million dollars) twice. This time, it went up even higher. Although the exact amount has yet to be disclosed, TVing reportedly exceeded 40 billion won (40 million dollars) per year, reaching the mid-40 billion won range. Simply multiplying the contract by three years is close to 140 billion won. Industry watchers say the deal is a huge amount that exceeds expectations.

A total of three bidding companies for the new media business rights have been entered, including TVing, Acla Media Group, and Naver Consortium (Naver, SK Telecom, LG Uplus, and Afreeca TV). TVing received by far a high score in terms of bidding price. It seems that the difference was not reversible for other items such as technology open source. The amount difference was that big. All eyes are now on the possibility of TVing being paid. Basically, TVing is based on paid OTT. You have to collect the amount you invested a large amount of money. Industry sources say, “If it is paid, there is no answer. It has become clear that it will be paid in any way.” 온라인경마

The main contenders for wired and wireless broadcasting rights were portal sites represented by Naver and Kakao. The portal site broadcasted all games of professional baseball live on its platform. Fans could enjoy baseball anytime, anywhere without much effort on the portal site. Not only live streaming but also various highlight clips and replay support were able to bring fans together. Considering the influence of portal dinosaurs, accessibility couldn’t be better. Telecom companies also sought to expand their influence by providing killer contents called professional baseball for free. As long as they had a mobile phone or a personal computer, they could watch professional baseball games for free at any time. That was the case until last year at least.

Naver Consortium, which had been the operator of new media until last year, promised to provide the service in a conventional way. It had the advantage of being familiar and easy to access for fans. Even Aikla Media Group, which has its own OTT, guaranteed free viewing. It has reportedly come up with a plan to ensure smooth access for general viewers by reselling the service on platforms where viewers can watch for free, such as portal sites. If one of the two sites was selected, there was no fear of paying to watch baseball games.

However, TVing reportedly did not give a definite answer on “viewing free of charge,” drawing attention to the final negotiations. It was confirmed that TVing did not include a clear direction on this sensitive content in its proposal at the time of the final presentation held on the 5th. It is known that it did not give a clear answer to questions about the possibility of paying and how to provide the service. As a result, the industry speculates that TVing is considering a full charge.

Industry sources say that TVing is expected to take the stage of full-fledged payment this year at the earliest, at least within the contract period (three years). This is because the effect of attracting subscribers alone cannot recover the amount of investment. This is true given the situation TVing is facing recently. Amid fierce competition in the industry, the prevailing view is that it will make every effort to settle the payment of professional baseball.

Even if it is not paid right away this year, rapid sharing is expected to be inevitable. There is a strong possibility that only paid members will be given the right to watch high definition, replay, watch various contents, and link them to TV, while free members’ viewing may only provide relatively low-quality live. There is also talk that free coupons will be provided for a certain period of time and then paid for.

There are many different opinions about the paid broadcasting. Of course, in advanced sports countries such as the United States and Europe, ‘paid broadcasting’ is common. MLB and NBA have even created and operated their own paid platforms. As professional baseball is also a cultural content, the timing of transition to the era of paying a reasonable amount and watching it, like existing movie dramas, will come someday. However, there is also a theory that professional baseball is not yet such a culture. At a time when it is familiar to see it as ‘free’, paying can promote fans’ departure, which can dampen the fever of professional baseball that has barely been saved. Furthermore, if it is suddenly done in a year, the confusion grows.

Many club officials and fans are also expressing concern over the restriction of viewership due to the fee-for-service. “There is also a lot of public opinion against the payment, and if it is actually paid, the so-called ‘right fans’ will be able to escape. It is also unclear whether the active interest in professional baseball will actually pay the fee when the fee is paid,” a team marketing official said. “Although the proportion of young people has increased significantly when looking at professional baseball fans, we cannot ignore the demand of middle-aged people. This is also a constraint as they may not be familiar with the existing paid OTT platform.”

The final decision has not yet been made. Teaming, who was selected as the preferred bidder, will now start detailed discussions with KBO and clubs. Controversy over payoff is also certain to be put on the table. In past cases, there have been cases in which preferred negotiators failed to reach a final agreement in selecting KBO league business rights. With strong opposition from fans seemingly certain right now, attention is focusing on what choices the KBO and clubs that have the final say will make.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *