Max to be seen in neighbouring countries during World Cup

MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: Max is spreading its wings. At least for the duration of the World Cup that is. Max will be available to cable viewers in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives from the tournament's kick-off on 8 February till it concludes.

"We think cricket is a nice property with which we can launch Max in other countries," Rajat Jain, Max business head, said at a press conference in the capital today, after announcing a new NDTV-produced programme (first reported by indiantelevision on Monday under the headline Max to herald World Cup with Jung World Cup Ki).

In three other territories - Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia - the Max signal has been sub-licenced to local broadcasting / media companies, Jain said.

While Jain provided no details, what this means is that SET Satellite (Singapore) Pvt Ltd. which is the satellite, pay TV and DTH television rights holder of ICC-organised cricket not only for India, but for the neighbouring region too, has worked out two packages for the cricket telecast outside India.

In Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, what will be on air is the Max branded feed.

For Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia, the arrangement is quite different though. In Singapore, the sub-licencee would be Singapore Cable Vision, in Malaysia it would be Measat-promoted Astro and in Pakistan it would be Taj Sports which also owns the Ten Sports channel.

According to Jain, cricket could help the channel establish in other countries in the initial phase. "Cricket and (Hindi) movies are great properties and we expect this combination would work nicely for us as Max will be presenting cricket with an element of entertainment around the actual game," Jain said.

As things stand though, information available with indicates that this present deal will not apply beyond the World Cup. There are reportedly still some issues regarding telecast rights of the movies that Max will eventually get back to beaming that have to be sorted out first. Unless this is resolved, viewers in countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will not have access to the Max feed once the tournament ends.

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