| Realising that India-Pakistan cricket matches can turn
out to be money-spinners, Doordarshan is unleashing all the tricks
in the trade to be also part of the telecast team. This is all despite
the fact that initial overtures in this regard have been rejected
by Ten Sports, which had signed a telecast deal with the Pakistan
Cricket Board (PCB) for cricket matches organized under its aegis.
"We have held some rounds of meetings with Ten Sports on being
provided a feed of the India-Pakistan cricket matches that would
be played in the near future," Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma
said in the capital today, during an interaction with journalists.
According to Sarma, though Ten Sports' head of programming Peter
Hutton --- slated to meet the Prasar Bharati CEO again this week
--- has not agreed to the offers put out by DD, he would "make
other efforts" to get the matches.
Hutton, who spoke to indiantelevision.com over the phone from Dubai,
was however quite categorical that the in-principle agreement that
had been reached with India's pubcaster was only for DD showing
one hour highlights with either a four-hour delay or after 10:30
pm - whichever was later. Hutton termed his meetings with Sarma
as positive and said discussions were on for other areas of possible
This of course raises questions as to what exactly Sarma was implying
when, on being asked what the 'other efforts' might be, he hinted
that it could be an issue taken up between the governments of Pakistan
and India. "It could also be that we talk to the PCB directly
and try to convince them that as a public service broadcaster we
too, should be allowed to telecast the cricket matches, maybe on
a 30-minute deferred basis," he added.
According to Hutton, the deferred telecast proposal was a non-starter
as all the commercial deals that Ten had entered into with its telecast
sponsors guaranteed exclusivity of broadcast.
As part of earlier talks, DD had offered Ten Sports a formula that
it had employed during the last cricket World Cup wherein Sony Entertainment
TV India held the exclusive telecast rights for the India region.
The offer envisaged that either Ten Sports allows DD to telecast
the cricket matches on a deferred basis ranging between 30 to 60
minutes or use the DD platform, after giving a minimum guarantee
of approximately Rs 50 million
per match, and take a lion's share of the revenue generated from
marketing the matches.
DD's contention had been that Ten Sports' viewership base in India
is miniscule and by coming also onto the DD platform with the matches,
it could make a financial killing, while DD would be satisfied having
made some money and lived up to its role of a public service broadcaster.
DD TO BID FOR BCCI CRICKET AGAIN
The issue of India-Pakistan cricket matches may be sizzling
in the oven, but DD has decided to give the likes of Sony and Sahara
a run for their money for the telecast rights for the Board for
Control of Cricket in India (BCCI)-organised cricket in India.
"We would bid again for the rights this year," Sarma
said. The BCCI rights would be up for grabs this year and Sony and
Sahara have indicated that they too, would like to bag the telecast
For seven one-dayers and four Test matches per year, Prasar Bharati
had paid Rs 2,500 million for a period of five years.
Prasar Bharati had bowled a googly to the BCCI too, but after having
batted for Indian cricket for so many years, the organization's
chief, Jagmohan Dalmia, spotted it early and fended it away safely.
According to an initial proposal, Prasar Bharati had wanted BCCI
to give it the telecast rights --- for an increased amount for the
next four years again without a bidding process being held. An offer
that Dalmia politely refused in a letter to Sarma.
This time round BCCI is promising 10 one-dayers and four Tests
Not giving up, Sarma said, the Prasar Bharati board has requested
Dalmia to give it a patient hearing wherein a fervent appeal would
be made to the BCCI to allow DD have the telecast rights.
AIR TO BROADCAST ONE-DAYERS IN AUSTRALIA
Meanwhile, Sarma said that DD's sibling, All India Radio, would
be broadcasting commentary for the tri-nation one day series Down
Under that would begin tomorrow. The participating nations are India,
Australia and Zimbabwe.
AIR has paid Rs 6 million for the rights and has already booked
advertising spots worth approximately Rs 30 million.