DD seals ICC cricket terrestrial telecast deal; WSN to handle air time sales

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television, which has the cable and satellite telecast rights for all ICC cricket tournaments including the next two World Cups, has a serious fight on its hands for the advertising pie from national broadcaster Doordarshan, which has secured the terrestrial rights for the ICC World Cup cricket tournaments. 

As per the terms of the acceptance letter that came in this evening from World Sport Nimbus on behalf of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp subsidiary Global Cricket Corporation, the GCC has reached a revenue-share agreement with Doordarshan whereby advertising revenues will be split on a 80:20 basis. This was confirmed to by a senior official of pubcaster Prasar Bharati today. The deal was actually reached last evening though. 

World Sport Nimbus (WSN) will not only be handling marketing and ad sales for DD, it will also be the producer of all the shows that are developed around the events. As for the matches themselves, it is responsible for the technical arrangements and will produce and deliver the signal to Doordarshan at its uplinking facility. 

Three DD channels - DD1, DD Metro and DD Sports - will be used as platforms to push the cricket. While, the actual match telecast will be on DD1, what is envisaged is programming around cricket that will run year-round but will build up in intensity as each individual tournament draws near.

According to sources, WSN will be running vignettes and interstitials on DD1, programming through the week on DD Metro and weekend programming on DD Sports.

One advantage (which will allow for seamless programming on match day) as far as pushing ad sales is concerned is that DD has guaranteed that all news bulletins will be shifted to DD Metro, sources say. Before each game there will be a one-hour pre-match special as well as a post-match half-hour wrap that WSN will produce.

And in what should serve as a notice to Sony, DD has already got on board big spenders Pepsi, Hero Honda and South Korean electronics major LG as advertisers. All three are World Cup sponsors.

It is clearly a win-win situation for DD as it has negotiated a guaranteed revenue for each of the World Cup matches it telecasts. This ranges from Rs 7.5 million for the early rounds to Rs 17.5 million for the semis and the finals. 

The revenue-share deal between GCC and Doordarshan calls for telecast of 15-18 of the total 54 matches in each of the World Cups. These will include all India matches, the semi-finals and the finals, as well as the Super Six matches involving the best teams. In the Champions Trophy or Mini-World Cup Series, DD will telecast live 8-10 of the 15 matches. 

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