Sports channels to take up clause woes with I&B

New Delhi, Nov 22 | Updated: Nov 23 2005, 06:18am hrs
With Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi taking charge as information and broadcasting minister, private sports channels are hopeful of getting respite from the retrospective clause in the new downlinking guidelines passed by the Cabinet recently.

While most private sports channels did not wish to go on record, they did admit that they would individually meet the minister to put up their cases.

Because of the retrospective clause in the downlinking guidelines, several private sports channels having telecast rights for important cricket tournaments in foreign countries will be forced to share their feed with Doordarshan.

Pay sports channels heavily depend on subscription revenue, apart from advertising revenues. There is no provision of reimbursing the loss in our subscription revenue in the current guidelines, a senior executive of a private sports channel said.

And as per the sharing arrangement with Doordarshan, private sports broadcaster will get 75% of the advertising revenue from the tournament, with the rest going to Doordarshans kitty.

According to industry sources, Mr Dasmunshi is known for his views on promoting fair competition. All we want is some respite on the retrospective clause, sources said.

With the Indian cricket team slated for an overseas tour of Pakistan in January and February of next year, the channels likely to get affected by the downlinking guidelines are Ten Sports and ESPN. While Ten Sports has satellite telecast rights for Pakistan where India will pay both Test matches and one-day internationals, ESPN recently bagged the rights for the 9th Asia Cup to be played in Pakistan between India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bangladesh in February 2006.