Pakistan tour: I&B ministry, Ten Sports on a sticky wicket

New Delhi, Jan 5 | Updated: Jan 6 2006, 05:30am hrs
The broadcasting blues over cricket are back to haunt the information and broadcasting ministry and Ten Sports as India gets ready to take on Pakistan on its home turf.

The duel over the retrospective clause has initiated the government and Ten Sports to work on a possible solution which will maintain the sports channels exclusivity on cable (as it is the TV rights holder for Pakistan) and Doordarshan will get to show the series on its terrestrial network (non-cable homes).

I&B minister and also the president of All India Football Federation Priyaranjan Das Munsi, has already indicated that he was in favour of a review of guidelines only if DD too made some money.

Under the present guidelines, DD automatically gets to show all cricket matches involving India. An indication that the government is working around its own guidelines, makes it a significant move.

Industry sources told FE that a possible solution is being worked upon by which Ten Sports will create a separate feed for DD and provide decoders to over 300 very low power transmitters (VLPT) covering the non-cable homes.

The encyrpted signals can then be decoded and transmitted in over 30 million non-cable homes.

The solution will enable DD to sell their own advertising for this viewership and they can easily make Rs 20-25 crore for the five ODIs, industry sources said.

TACKLING THE GOOGLY

The government and Ten Sports to work on a possible solution which will maintain the sports channels exclusivity on cable
Ten Sports will create a separate feed for DDS and provide decoders to over 300 very low power transmitters covering the non-cable homes
The solution will enable DD to sell their own advertising for this viewership and they can easily make Rs 20-25 crore for the five ODIs
Under the present guidelines, DD automatically gets to show all cricket matches involving India
Ten Sports bought the worldwide rights for Pakistan and Sri Lanka two years back for a reported sum of over Rs 350-400 crore
Ten Sports officials say that they are ready to co-operate with the government but their rights have to be protected or they will be forced to exit
the newspaper industry, which
Print media accounted for
Rs 5,500 cr or almost 50%

These advertisement will be inserted in the signal beamed by Ten Sports at its own cost and through its own satellite thus allowing DD to continue transmitting its regular programs to the rest of the country thereby saving additional cost, industry sources told FE.

We will work out something in the best interest of both Prasar Bharti and private channels, Mr Das Munsi told FE. On its part Ten Sports officials said: For the non-cable market, we are ready to co-operate with the government but our rights have to be protected else we will be forced to exit.

Ten Sports bought the worldwide rights for Pakistan and Sri Lanka tours two years back for a reported sum of over Rs 350-400 crore when there were no must share directives.

Drawing out the anomalies in the present downlinking guidelines, industry observers said: These guidelines were formulated to check obscenity in satellite channels. Also there penalty is imposed on DD for not showing all international cricket involving India.

It may be recalled that DD had earlier asked for covering the one day internationals involving India and Pakistan.

Prasar Bharti has already indicated that it is only interested in India matches when they play Pakistan, Australia, England, West Indies, etc and not with Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. Both ESPN and Ten Sports have seperately gone to court challenging the retrospective clause and the matter is sub-judice.