High Charges Cost Local Broadcasters Rights to the Pacific Games

PHOTO: Part of a Samoa team competing in an international sporting competition

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 16 MAY 2019: At least the local broadcasting companies have an explanation why the Host Broadcaster Contract for the July Pacific Games has been awarded to an overseas company – the Melanesia Media Group (MMG).

According to the Prime Minister, the main reason was the high costs from local broadcasting companies that bid for the rights to broadcast the Pacific Games.

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi’s reasons were given at the opening of the South Pacific Engineers Association (SPEA) meeting at the Sheraton Hotel last week, where he was comparing services costs.

He said the decision to award the broadcasting rights to MMG was based on two important components with Government bidding policies.

“One is the capacity, expertise, skills, the know-how and the evidence of their work in all local and overseas tenders,” said Tuilaepa.

“The second is the costs and this is where the local media failed,” he said.

Tuilaepa said the (local) media wanted too much money, but Government gave importance to the element of costs.

“We have to pick a company from overseas and this is governance, transparency and accountability,” said Tuilaepa.

Apia Park, one of the main venues of the July Pacific Games

However, one local TV station that bid told the media that they were given only 3 days to put in a proposal.

TV1’s Managing Director, Galumalemana Faiesea Lei Sam-Matafeo’s told Samoa Global News, this is a missed opportunity for local broadcasting companies to improve their skills.

Awarding the contract to an overseas company has not come down well with the local media. The President of the national media association – JAWS, Rudy Bartley was also disappointed with the procedure the bid was done, given a limited time to submit proposals and many did not know when the tender was advertised.

In their defence, the Samoa Pacific Games Authority said in a statement sent out last month, that all bidders were given the same brief and amount of time to put in proposals, and that MMG’s proposal was found to be the most technically compliant and competitive.

Talamua understands that MMG is looking at engaging some local broadcasting companies and available expertise in the games broadcasting coverage.