DD expects to catch Rs 500 mn after payoffs

 NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster, Doordarshan, may not have been able to engineer a windfall from the recently-concluded Indo-Pakistan cricket series, considering the controversies surrounding the telecast rights, but it has managed to earn a decent amount from various sponsorship deals.

According to the pubcaster, initial calculations show that on a gross collection of about Rs 1.8 billion, it expects to make a net profit in the region of Rs 500 million.

Speaking to a day after the historic Indo-Pakistan home series came to an end, which fittingly was won by the latter in the presence of its President General Musharraf, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma said jubilantly, "We expect to make approximately Rs 500 million after paying the Indian cricket board for rights and other deductions."

Prasar Bharati, which manages DD, feels that given the constraints under which the rights were obtained and the inadequate time available for selling airtime, the present performance is "laudable."

Sarma said other deductions would include 15 per cent ad agency commission (the agencies through which advertisers book airtime on DD) amounting to about Rs 300 million.

The total mop up by DD and the outflow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may "fluctuate a bit," Sarma said, keeping in mind the number of overs bowled; that is, the amount of actual play time. If the number of overs in a one-dayer or the number of days in a five-day Test were less, the inflow would be lesser as would be the outflow to the BCCI as the rights fee. This is part of an arrangement that DD has with the BCCI.

"We expect to pay the BCCI for the telecast rights in the region of Rs 900 million to Rs 1 billion," Sarma said.

The Indian cricket team's performance might not have been so heartening during the concluded home series, but DD has encouraged Sarma to say that the organisation intends to "go out and bid for cricket telecast rights, at least for home series, in the future as aggressively as private players."

Just for record's sake, controversies surrounding the telecast rights being offered by the BCCI, have seen DD emerging as the dark horse in being the favourite for telecasting the cricket matches. DD has beaten the likes of ESPN-Star Sports, Ten Sports, Sony Entertainment Television India and Zee Telefilms, which is mulling starting a sports channel in the near future.

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