Pressure on Prasar Bharati to reach deal with Ten Sports for FIFA World Cup telecast

To telecast or not to telecast (World cup soccer matches) is the question that is haunting Prasar Bharati and it is still attempting to salvage an almost a dead deal.

"Talks are still on with Ten Sports for telecast of the World Cup matches," a senior official of Prasar Bharati told on Tuesday, pointing out that the national broadcaster is faced with a strange dilemma of trying to balance economics and its role as a public service broadcaster.

"We are trying to see whether we can do something with the opening match and then the semi-final and final games of the soccer World Cup," the official said, adding that taking all the matches on a six-hour delayed telecast basis would not be prudent.

Since the soccer matches, if telecast on DD, would be under the sponsored category, Ten Sports would have to pay a certain amount of telecast fee to Prasar Bharati and, in return, will get a certain amount of free-commercial time for hawking on every 30-minute basis.

Admitting that Doordarshan is under "severe pressure from viewers and policy-makers alike," the official said: "We are sitting on the horns of dilemma. If we decide to telecast the soccer matches then it would have to be on a delayed basis of at least six hours. If we go ahead and do it, then viewers will not get anything extra as in six hours time results of matches would have already been known in this age of information superhighway, even if the matches have not already been seen on Ten Sports."

The official further pointed out that if DD decides to give the soccer World Cup a complete go-by since Ten Sports has the exclusive telecast rights for the Indian region, it was sure to attract lot of flak from politicians and the public.

DD also does not see much revenue flowing in from the delayed telecast of the soccer matches.

Prasar Bharati, overseeing the functioning of Doordarshan and All India Radio and one of the biggest broadcasters in the world, is smarting under the fact that it cannot telecast live the World Cup matches as Ten Sports has with it exclusive satellite and terrestrial rights and had written to DD earlier that the pubcaster would not be permitted to air the soccer games live

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