Prasar gives ESS till Monday to make new offer on cricket production for pubcaster

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati is likely to take a decision by Monday as to whether it would agree to a proposal from ESPN Star Sports (ESS) to produce pre and post match programmes during the cricket World Cup on Doordarshan or do a similar thing in-house.

"A final decision on the matter is likely to be taken by Monday whether we will have ESPN-Star Sports or do the pre and post match programming in-house and then market it to earn some additional revenue," KS Sarma, chief executive of Prasar Bharati, told journalists after attending a board meeting here today.

Explaining the genesis of the whole issue, Sarma said that ESS had come to DD with an offer wherein the company wanted to buy airtime on DD and produce pre and post match programming during the World Cup.

"But ESS is still to get back to us after we put forward some conditions and also the commercial terms," Sarma said, adding, that by Monday a decision would have been taken either way.

At the time of posting this report a response was still awaited from ESPN Software India managing director Manu Sawhney on the issues raised by Sarma.

Asked by journalists whether he would go with the classy productions of ESS or depend on Doordarshan talent to produce cricket programming, Sarma smilingly said, "At the moment, the balance is tilted in favour of in-house programming as we have some very good producers, a huge archive and can draw from our impressive list of sports and cricket experts."

Queried further on the conditions put forward to ESS by DD, Sarma said, that it has been made clear to them that neither ESPN nor Star Sports logo would be allowed to appear on the screen (on DD) as also commentators would not be allowed to sport any shirt or jacket with the sports channels' logos.

Asked by about the commercial terms, Sarma said, "We would certainly not like to give out airtime to ESS, a competitor, on DD at normal telecast fees and would prefer a higher rate."

What would be the higher rates? "At least three times the normal telecast fee," Sarma said, adding that, for example, on DD Metro between 1:30-2 pm the telecast fee is about Rs. 50,000 per 30 minutes.

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