We are just 28 days away from the biggest sporting event of the year. The 22nd FIFA World Cup will kick off on November 20, with the host Qatar taking on Ecuador. This is the most expensive World Cup ever, and sadly, we will be covering a part of the cost as viewers. We will have to pay an additional fee of NPR 500 to watch the Qatar World Cup (2022) in Nepal.
How to watch Qatar FIFA World Cup (2022) in Nepal?
While the plans are yet to be finalized, it’s most likely that Himalaya TV will broadcast the upcoming World Cup in Nepal. The company will start two new channels to broadcast matches during the event. These matches will have English commentary.
So far, NetTV and ViaTV have already signed up to broadcast World Cup (2022) matches, while it is assumed that other cable operators will join them soon. However, you won’t be able to watch it on the mobile app as there has been any agreement for the same.
How much will you have to pay a fee to watch Qatar FIFA World Cup (2022) in Nepal?
It was speculated that this year’s World Cup is going to be an expensive one for Nepalese viewers from the very start. However, there was no concrete information about how much and how a viewer is going to pay for it. The details are finally here.
Football fans based in Nepal will have to pay a fee of NPR 500 to watch the FIFA World Cup (2022) matches from the comfort of their home. It is important to point out that the Rs. 500 is a VAT-exclusive price, and it is valid for a single setup box (STB).
So, the final price you are paying is Rs. 500 + 13% VAT which totals Rs. 565 for one STB. In the case of a big household with multiple TVs, you will have to pay Rs. 565 for each active TV/ STB. And this price is on top of the regular subscription fee you pay for your cable for IPTV, making the world cup an expensive affair.
You will be able to pay for the World Cup package via eSewa, Khalti, and corresponding the IPTV/cable operator.
But why do I need to pay the fee for World Cup in Nepal?
This brings us to the main concern – Why pay extra for this year’s Qatar World Cup when previous editions were almost free? So, let’s start with the basics. Like any other major event, FIFA licenses the regional broadcasting rights of the World Cup to different partners. The right to broadcast this year’s World Cup in Nepal is held by Media Hub.
However, if you look at the official media right overview of the World Cup Qatar 2022, you will notice that Media Hub did not get the license directly from FIFA but through Viacom 18. Viacom 18 is an Indian media network that secured the right to media rights to this year’s World Cup for the Indian sub-continent.
Any media that wants to broadcast FIFA World Cup matches in any country within the sub-continent, will have to get the rights from Viacom 18. Avemore has done this in Bangladesh, Ary Digital in Pakistan, and its Media Hub, which holds the “exclusive” right in Nepal.
Exclusive Digital Broadcasting Rights
I’m emphasizing the “exclusive” here because it’s what’s new this time around. In the previous world cups, Nepali channels did not have exclusive rights. As a result, Sony networks, who owned the right for India at that time, could broadcast it simultaneously with Nepali channels in Nepal. Nepali broadcasters are also said to have run into advertisement-related issues back then.
This all influenced Media Hub to go for the exclusive broadcasting rights for this year’s FIFA World Cup (2022). It’s not that hard to figure out that it comes with added costs.
Most Expensive World Cup Ever
As I said in the beginning, this year’s FIFA World Cup is the most expensive one in history, with a total investment reported to be around USD 220 million. For reference, the last two World Cups in Brazil and Russia cost USD 15 million and 11.6 million, respectively.
This has a direct impact on the price of media rights. Sony got the digital rights to the World Cup in Brazil and Russia for a combined estimate of USD 80 million. But this year’s rights alone went to Viacom 18 for USD 60 million (~INR 450 crore.)
Media Hub paid NPR 25 crore to Viacom 18 for the Nepal-exclusive right. Media Hub estimates an additional NPR 15 crore to go into promotion and technical backbone.
Need for Pay-Per-View Model
Since Media Hub is a business and they need to make money too. Usually, this kind of investment is recovered through sponsorships and advertisements. This is what Nepali broadcasters did in the past and what Viacom 18 will do in India as it plans to provide free World Cup coverage via Sports 18 (channel) and Jio Cinema (OTT). Even so, the network is aiming for a revenue of INR 300 crore.
Over on the other side of the border, broadcasters are worried because of the declining ad revenue post-COVID. As a result, Media Hub is opting for a Pay-Per-View model for the Qatar World Cup, which is a first for Nepal. In this model, users pay a certain fee to unlock certain programs of their choice.
Is this paywall necessary? Can you buy pass it?
Let’s assume, Media Hub did not acquire the right to World Cup broadcasting. I mean, SAARC countries Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka still don’t have channels of their own with broadcasting rights. Viacom 18 can technically broadcast there since they have the rights, but the bigger question is — will they? These are rather smaller markets than India, with less chance of revenue.
Also, it depends upon the coverage of the Sports 18 channel, which in the case of Nepal is almost non-existent. You can download the Jio Cinema in Nepal via a VPN, but it would still require a Jio number that you can’t have in Nepal.
So, no World Cup broadcasts in Nepal then. Even if Nepali channels were to bring the Sports 18 channel under their package just for the World Cup, it’s hard to estimate what it would have cost them.
In this regard, a Nepali company getting the exclusive right to broadcast FIFA World Cup matches in Nepal looks positive. Not only it guarantees World Cup broadcasts to Nepalese, but also gives them the opportunity to work on a pricing model that works best for them.
The Biggest Criticism
But this is where Media Hub is getting the biggest criticism. Consumer rights activists in Nepal say the decision to hide the World Cup broadcasting behind an additional paywall (fee) is an unfair trade practice. Even for me who believes the paywall for World Cup (2022) in Nepal was unavoidable, the purposed fee seems a little steep for average households. It should have been on the more reasonable side.
For instance, it is estimated that there are more than 1,000,000 active set-top boxes in Nepal. And if each pays Rs. 565 for the World Cup subscription, it amounts to over 56.5 crores. I know, not all of the STB users are going to opt for it. Then again, it is also not fair to expect consumers to bear all the costs since there will certainly be Nepali ads and sponsorships.
It doesn’t help that the fee only applies to a single STB. If you have additional TVs you will have to pay Rs. 565 for each. And it doesn’t seem fair. I mean, even cable and IPTV operators discount the fee of normal channel packages on the secondary STB.
Even worse is the fact that you won’t be able to watch World Cup matches on your NetTV and ViaTV mobile applications even though you pay the said Rs. 565 fees since it only applies to STB. So, if you are traveling and want to catch some of the actions on the go — you can’t.
- Meanwhile, check out our review of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.