Regulators

Kerala HC directs ESS to share feed with DD

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MUMBAI: In a ruling on similar lines to one laid down earlier this year by the Supreme Court in the Ten Sports Vs Doordarshan case, the Kerala High Court today directed the national broadcaster to telecast the one-day cricket series between India and Bangladesh beginning at Chittagong tomorrow.

The two-judge division bench division bench of Chief Justice B Subhashan Reddy and Justice Kurian Joseph, in an interim order also directed exclusive telecast rights holder ESPN Star Sports to share revenues at the ratio of 80:20, subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Supreme Court in pending cases.

The Bench also made it clear that Doordarshan should exhibit the logo of ESPN and advertisements which ESPN has committed for the one-day series.

Reacting to the developments, ESPN Software India managing director RC Venkateish said the sports broadcaster was "aggrieved by the high court order". "We will be moving an application in the Supreme Court challenging the ruling either later this evening or tomorrow morning," Venkateish added.

On Monday, ESPN said it holds exclusive right to telecast the India-Bangladesh cricket series and was not willing to share its revenue with Doordarshan for telecasting the three one-dayers, the first of which starts in Chittagong on 23 December.

Senior advocate Rakesh Munchal, representing ESPN, had submitted before the Kerala High Court, that ESS was "not agreeable to revenue sharing". ESPN would suffer a "huge financial loss" if asked to share its revenue with Doordarshan in the ratio of 80:20, Munchal had submitted.

In a ruling made in March during the historic India-Pakistan series, the Supreme Court had directed Ten Sports to make available its signal to DD. The apex court clarified in its order that Ten's signal should be relayed by DD as is - complete with logo and all the advertising that the Dubai-based sports broadcaster had secured.

Ten had moved the SC in February after a Chennai high court ruled in favour of DD. The apex court, in an interim order in March on the eve of the first one-dayer between India and Pakistan, had directed that DD should relay Ten signals.

The court had also asked DD to deposit Rs 500 million with it as surety towards compensation payable, if any, to Ten Sports in regard to the dispute.

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