English Premier League online rights sold in China

Shanghai Media Group has reportedly acquired the exclusive rights to telecast English Premier League programs online from GoalTV, an affiliate company of Britain's Yes TV. According to the state newsagecy, Xinhua, GoalTV owns the exclusive rights to telecast the the four biggest clubs in the English league -- Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal in Asia. In addition, it also provides a live telecast of French, Dutch and Scottish leagues.

More youths prefer watching TV programs online, among which sports programs are the most popular. No doubt the upcoming Olympic Games in 2008 will be the best news for the development of Chinese online TV, Xinhua said, citing Yes TV. An earlier survey showed the number of online TV subscribers in China will swell to 100 million by 2010, and the value of the new media market is expected to reach 200 billion yuan (US$24.92 billion).

In January, FIFA's marketing agents, Infront Sports & Media, signed an exclusive deal with SMG Broadband Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, giving the latter Chinese market rights to cover all 64 World Cup matches in the mobile telephony and world wide web categories. They include up to four minutes of video material per match for near-live or delayed highlights via mobile networks and the internet.

See also: China telephony/internet World Cup deal signed (27 Jan).