HK broadcasters settle World Cup dispute

Rights holder Cable TV to share with TVB, ATV

HONG KONG — Three Hong Kong broadcasters have ended a dispute that would have shut out free coverage of the World Cup in this soccer-crazed city of 7 million people, but the partial solution only airs matches to households with digital decoders.

Hong Kong's World Cup rights holder, the pay-TV broadcaster Cable TV, was at loggerheads with local terrestrial stations TVB and ATV over a sub-licensing deal. Cable TV offered footage for the opening match, the semifinals and the final, but required the two stations to also carry its commentary and advertising.

Those demands were initially rejected. But under public pressure to reach a compromise with the World Cup just weeks away, the three stations said in a joint statement that TVB and ATV have agreed to Cable TV's terms.
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