Simulcast of India-Bangla series: HC asks DD to state how much it will pay

MUMBAI: The Kerala High Court has asked pubcaster Prasar Bharati to indicate how much it would be willing to pay for simulcasting live the ongoing India-Bangladesh cricket series.

The question relates to a public interest petition filed last week, seeking telecast of the matches on national broadcaster Doordarshan (DD). The court's query to DD was prompted by ESPN Star Sports' (ESS) insistence on a compensation if the matches were to be simulcast. The court will continue hearing the case tomorrow.

ESS has acquired five-year exclusive telecast rights to the Bangladesh board for Rs 500 million.

When contacted, Prasar Bharati chief executive officer KS Sarma told "At this stage, we can only take up live telecast of the matches if we have a revenue share arrangement with ESS. The ratio can be worked out with ESS."

ESPN Software India managing director R C Venkatesh, however, was unwilling to discuss the issue. "As the matter is sub-judice, we would not like to offer any comment at this juncture," he said.

The advertising rates on cricket matches have been on a downward trend recently. DD earned an average net revenue of Rs 15 million a day for the India-South Africa Test series. Though the India-Bangladesh series has not drawn audiences and advertisers, DD feels there may be some interest in the one-dayers.

Meanwhile, ESPN has switched off signals to Rajan Raheja-promoted Hathway Cable & Datacom and Asianet for non payment of dues. This has coincided with the telecast of the India-Bangladesh cricket series.

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