Channels to pay DD for Olympics footage

NEW DELHI: When the pubcaster wants, it manages to gets its dues. Private satellite channels like Aaj Tak have said that they would pay for the footage of Olympics used and wherever they have exceeded the guidelines as Doordarshan holds the exclusive rights for the games for India.

According to sources in Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan and All India Radio, networks like Aaj Tak have said they will pay for the (excess) footage at agreed rates, while Zee News has conveyed that it would step up compliance to news access rules in letter and spirit.

However, when contacted Zee Telefilms news director Laxmi N. Goel today, he said that Zee News has not flouted any DD guidelines as special instructions had been issued to colleagues in this regard. Asked, why he had written a letter to Prasar Bharati saying compliance would be stepped up, Goel explained that it was out of courtesy to Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma's letter.

Before the Olympics started, DD had made elaborate arrangements to cover the Games by getting exclusive telecast rights and also sending out rates for footage that could be bought by private channels. It had also mandated three agencies, including Centre for Media Studies and TAM, to monitor channels to see if the news access rules were being flouted or adhered to.

As per a small report generated by TAM, in case of NDTV India and NDTV 24x7, there appeared to be general compliance. After getting the TAM report, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma had shot off letters to heads of news networks seeking their cooperation in adhering to the news access rules of Olympic Games.

Aaj Tak had given credit to the rights holder only once in the beginning. It has not given credit during the repeats of the Games footage. The TAM report said that it had ?§more or less adhered to the 120 seconds outer limit. Scroll at the bottom continues during the Olympic footage in violation of the news access rules.

Aaj Tak news director QW Naqvi, however, said that if these allegations were being made, then breaching of the guidelines were not done intentionally.

According to the monitoring agencies, Zee News has not given credit to the rights holder anywhere for 14 August 2004. The 120-second outer limit has also been breached. In one instance, it has used over four and a half minute (279 seconds) footage of opening ceremony in its programme Maidan E Yunan.

On this charge, Goel said, "Even we are internally monitoring the Olypics coverage and I can say it on record that Zee News has strictly followed the guidelines".

In the beginning, Prasar Bharati had quoted high figures for Olympic footage that could be bought from it, which was later downwardly revised to $ 5,000 for up to five hours of footage during the entire games; $ 4,000 for five hours to 25 hours and $ 3,000 for more than 25 hours.

The News Access Rules set by DD and sent out to all networks in India stipulate the following conditions:"h The duration of Olympic material used in any one programme should not exceed a total of two minutes. The duration of any one particular Olympic event shall not exceed 30 seconds.

*.Olympic material can appear in not more than three programmes per day.

"h Non-rights holders shall not position or promote any programmes as Olympic programmes.

*Each broadcast of Olympic material shall give on-screen credit to the rights holder.

* Non-rights holders shall ensure that no advertising, promotion or other message appears during the usage of Olympic footage, be it in the form of superimposed image, scroll or split screen image.

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