HBO, Disney Find Legal Distribution

A subsidiary of Oknha Kith Meng’s Royal Group of Compa­nies will have exclusive rights to air premium cable channels such as HBO, Ci­ne­max and the Disney Chan­nel with the Cambodia Ca­ble Televi­sion Co, according to a statement re­­­leased by the company Mon­day.

Debasish Pattnaik, Cambodian En­tertainment Production Com­pa­ny’s managing director, said Mon­day that distribution of the channels would begin June 1.

“They’ve already tested the signals,” he said.

But CEPCO Communications Dir­ector Ben Betonio declined to confirm a date.

“There is no timetable yet,” he said.

The channels had previously been imported illegally from countries such as Thailand, Taiwan and Chi­na.

“It’s not coming in from Thai­land or anywhere else,” Pattnaik said. “It’s coming directly from the providers.”

Information Minister Khieu Kan­harith said Monday that the pir­­ated versions of the programs were removed from local televisions several months ago.

The CEPCO statement said the In­formation Ministry would cooperate with the company to prevent il­legal distributions of the channels, but both the ministry and CEPCO officials were equivocal about how effective such efforts would be.

“If any cable director violates the copyright, they can be sued,” Khieu Kanharith said. “Intellectual property will be respected.”

But he said that his ministry is short staffed and would have diffi­cul­­ty enforcing such regulations out­side Phnom Penh. He added that many illegal operators in the prov­inces are so small that his min­istry is not even aware of their existence.

Betonio also said illegal operators would continue to pose a problem.

“It’s like the pirated DVD and VCD stores,” he said. “They close one day, but tomorrow they are open again.”

But Pattnaik remained optimis­tic, saying that CEPCO would also seek legal distribution rights for Star and other subscription channels. (Additional reporting by Pin Si­so­vann)

CCTV public relations officer Sok Ly said that the deal with CEPCO would not affect cable prices, which will remain at $10 a month. She also confirmed that HBO and Cinemax will begin airing again but did not provide a date.

(Additional reporting by Pin Sisovann)


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