Cricket highlights: ESS run out by DD

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati today scored a moral victory when ESPN-Star Sports informed a city court that it would not any more telecast the highlights of the Indo-Pakistan cricket series.

This, however, was done at a hearing today after ESS made it clear that Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan, changed video clip usage rules at the last moment late last week before moving the Delhi high court.

Pubcaster Doordarshan moved the Delhi high court on Friday, getting the court to restrain ESPN Star Sports from airing cricket-related shows packaged as highlights of the Indo-Pak one-day series. The court injunction had forced ESPN and Star Sports to abort its plans of airing a much-publicised highlights package of the first one-dayer at Kochi.

Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma today exulted, "This should set a precedence and also reinforce the fact that the public service broadcaster could not be taken for granted by private sector TV companies."

Though Sarma was not forthcoming, sources in Prasar Bharati indicated the oragnisation is mulling claiming monetary damages from all those TV channels, including ESS, which had used DD-generated cricket video clips for mounting highlights and other cricket-related shows and selling air time at high prices during such shows.

ESPN India MD RC Venkateish refused to comment on the possibility of damage claims by DD, but admitted that under the "changed rules and scenario, ESPN and Star Sports would not air highlights packages."

This would mean that ESS has to adjust elsewhere its committed advertiser-clients, which would not get exposure in any Indo-Pak one-dayers now on the sports channels. "We'll have to look into that aspect, but I don't foresee any problems," Venkateish added.

Last month, DD had sent legal notices to 16-odd TV channels, pointing out that using cricket clips, generated by DD, at the rate of Rs 6,000 per minute for full shows was a breach of the terms set for usage of news clips. After receiving the legal notice, while some channels had apologised and offered payment, others had sought further clarification from DD.

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