Television

Ten Sports vs. government: case adjourned to 19 December

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court put paid today to any hopes that Dubai-based Taj TV Limited, which owns Ten Sports, may have entertained that there would be a speedy hearing of its petition against the government / pubcaster Prasar Bharati over the telecast rights issue.

Accepting the government's contention that it required more time to file its reply, the High Court adjourned till 19 December the hearing of Ten Sports' petition. The case came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Justices Ranjana Desai and AS Oka.

Taj TV had filed a petition late last week challenging the government's recent notification making it mandatory for private sports channels to share listed sporting (read cricket) events with pubcaster Doordarshan.

Ten Sports holds the rights of the India - Pakistan one-day international series scheduled to be held in January-February 2006. Any Indo-Pak cricketing encounter is a money spinner for broadcasters.

 

In its petition, Ten Sports has alleged acquisition costs of such events run into millions of dollars and sharing feed with Doordarshan would mean a loss for the broadcaster in advertising and subscription revenue.

The downlinking norms allow DD to keep 25 per cent of the revenue generated from marketing such shared events on its networks, while the rest goes to the private broadcaster holding that event's rights.

Ten Sports also petitioned in the court that it has sold close to 90 per cent of its ad inventory for the Indo-Pak series much before 11 November.

"Sharing the feed with DD after collecting advertising revenues would amount to a breach of trust of the clients, since they had paid higher sums for exclusive telecast on Ten Sports," the petition said.

Ten Sports has alleged that with the new downlinking norms, government's intention was to enable Prasar Bharati to make profits.

Ten Sports' petition mentioned that if it shared feed with DD, it would incur a minimum loss of Rs 200 million in fixed fee under the distribution agreement.

However, at this moment, no other private sector TV channel has come forward to join issues with Ten Sports against government norms. A sports broadcaster told Indiantelevision.com last week that it will "wait and see the outcome of the event or the turns the Ten case takes."

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