Sun, 21 May 2000

'RCTI' suffers Rp 1 billion deficit due to schedule change

KUALA LUMPUR (JP): Indonesia's privately owned RCTI station suffered a Rp 1 billion (US$111,110) deficit due to a change in the semifinals and final schedule of the Thomas and Uber Cup Championships at the Putra Indoor Stadium.

The loss was caused as RCTI's clients pulled their advertising -- which had been scheduled for the Uber Cup Wednesday afternoon match between Indonesia and China and Thursday's Thomas Cup match between Indonesia and Denmark.

"I feel really sorry for what happened because we have formally contacted TransWorld International (TWI), which holds the production rights for the International Management Group (IMG)," said RCTI sports program director, Linda Wahyudi, at the Pearl Hotel on Saturday. IMG is the official agent of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) to host international events.

"I just found out on Wednesday morning that the Uber Cup semifinals match, which was scheduled for the afternoon, was changed to the evening," she said. "The IBF referee, Dennis Li, had no idea about the time schedule of the television broadcasts."

"The match schedule was decided on a coin toss. There is a regulation from the IBF that the time schedule must be decided with a coin toss. Both RCTI and IMG didn't know that."

"Apparently, IMG doesn't have a greater role than before in this tournament. Perhaps there is Goldbridge, which holds the marketing rights. IMG has never been invited to the technical meetings which has resulted in their unawareness of the matter," she complained.

Linda said RCTI had to suffer a Rp 1 billion deficit and had trouble changing the commercial traffic at the last minute, which usually took two days.

Due to the large deficit, RCTI will ask for a deduction in the TV rights from TWI.

"We will ask for a deduction as we lost lots of money and we still have to pay the satellite booking fee cancellation, which is about 20 percent of the fee," she said.

However, Linda did not blame the IBF.

"I just regret it as it is the first time it has happened in the badminton event, where IMG doesn't have a role. Usually it has its officials from Jakarta who will help us to jointly work with the IBF, organizers and host broadcaster."

Due to the change, many TV viewers called to RCTI's office protesting the schedule revision.

"They asked why we changed the schedule as they expected to watch the semifinals on the holiday. When it was broadcast on Friday, many of them were still on their way home from work," Linda said, adding that RCTI ran running text announcing the changes. (yan)