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"No outside party on DD" - Quraishi

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati has decided against having an outside organisation like ESPN Star Sports producing pre and post match programmes during the cricket World Cup on Doordarshan --- something that may be done in-house, if at all anything on those lines does come on air.

Confirming to indiantelevision.com earlier in the day the decision on ESS-DD collaboration that was not to be, director-general of DD, S.Y. Quraishi, said, "We have decided that no outside party, including ESPN Star Sports, would be allowed to produce any pre and post match programmes on DD."

Prasar Bharati chief executive K S Sarma late last week during a press conference had said that by Monday (20 January) DD was likely to take a decision on the ESS proposal.

ESPN Star Sports was not available for comments immediately as its official spokesperson said they have not received any official intimation from DD yet and would wait for a communication from DD before reacting to the said development. 

Quraishi, while further explaining the rationale behind the decision, said, "It has also not been decided whether we will have pre and post match programmes on cricket at all on DD. As it is, there is and would be so much related to cricket leading up to the World Cup everywhere, including DD, that will peak during the actual tournament."

The DG added: "If at all we decide to have pre and post match programmes, in all probability it would be done in-house." Interestingly, TWI, the television production arm of IMG, had also sent a proposal to DD that it was interested in producing for DD any pre and post match programme.

"Yes, we did receive some proposals from the likes of TWI, but, as said earlier, we probably would not have such cricket-related programme." However, Quraishi refused to comment whether this decision of DD was a result of Nimbus Communications, the marketing agent of DD for World Cup cricket, expressing certain reservation on ESS using the DD platform to come out with cricket-related programmes. Even if that meant ESS buying time slots on DD after paying a premium on the normal telecast fee.

Earlier, as reported by indiantelevision.com, Prasar Bharati officials had got in touch with Nimbus on the ESS deal and had discussed various issues related to it last week. Sources there had also indicated that they had asked for a no-objection certificate from Nimbus on the ESS proposal. 

If ESS had managed to get on to the DD platform, it could have resulted in some additional delight for the viewers. As a TV observer pointed out, "With ESS there on DD, the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Geoffrey Boycott would have also been on the experts panel of the programmes. That would certainly have had the `purists' heading for DD during these periods."

But then if wishes were horses, many from the broadcasting and TV world would have loved to have a go at riding.

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