Regulators

Madras High Court verdict on television rights Thursday

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NEW DELHI: The cricket saga lurches on from one twist to another.

Even as the Madras High Court today said it would deliver tomorrow interim orders on telecasting arrangements for the upcoming India-Pakistan cricket matches, ESPN Star Sports matched Zee Telefilms offer to produce, telecast and share the revenues with the Indian cricket board for the matches, while sharing a feed with the pubcaster Doordarshan.

According to a report filed from Chennai by the Press Trust of India, reserving orders on a writ petition filed by Zee Telefilms challenging the Indian cricket boards decision cancelling the tender process, Justice KP Sivasubramanian said he would deliver orders tomorrow on live telecast of one-day as well as

Test matches between the two sides.

The judge will deliver orders on the main petition later.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI), ESPN Star Sports MD Rik Dovey has said,In the event that the foregoing suggestion is acceptable to the BCCI, we suggest ESS and the BCCI jointly approach the honourable court and recommend that it authorises the implementation of this solution.

Zee Telefilms had made a similar offer on telecasting the matches through a submission in the high court yesterday. However, pubcaster Prasar Bharati has rejected the "proposals" put forth by Zee and ESS and asserted that it would manage the production of the event on its own.

Prasar Bharati today admitted that the BCCI had made it an offer to produce and market the India-Pakistan cricket matches that could be telecast by Doordarshan on mutually agreed commercial terms.

Pointing out that such a scenario was acceptable to Prasar Bharati, which manages DD, its CEO KS Sarma said, "The BCCI offer is fine as far as the cricket board pays a minimum guarantee fee for the matches."

The revenue, as per the BCCI offer, was to be shared in the ratio of 70:30 in favour of the cricket board.

Essel Group vice-president (corporate brand development) Ashish Kaul states, "It is strange that it took ESPN Star Sports so long to make an offer to BCCI and that too almost similar to our offer. Now it is quite apparent that these people are only interested in exploiting Indian cricket. Had they been so well intentioned and concerned about the welfare of cricket then they should have made an offer a long time ago"

Despite repeated attempts, BCCI chief RS Mahendra could not be contacted for comments.

The ESS letter to BCCI states that the media company would provide production of international standards and "at a minimum as required by the BCCI's invitation to tender of 7 August last." However, in return, ESS wants that it would get the rights to telecast the Indian-Pakistan cricket matches, while sharing the feed with DD on terms acceptable to the cricket board.

ESS will deposit the advertising revenues which it receives following deduction of applicable agency commission, any cost incurred and fees payable to Prasar Bharati in relation to its telecast, any applicable taxes and mutually agreed production cost with the BCCI, Dovey has a conveyed to the BCCI

secretary SK Nair.

Yesterday, Zee had said that it is completely ready and willing, pending the final decision in the writ petition, to cover and telecast the forthcoming India vs Pakistan Cricket match series to be played in India.

ZTL would do this entirely at its risks and costs and without any

equity in its favour.

The company had further said that it should deposit the entire advertisement revenue collected thereof (net of agency commission) both on its channel as well as Doordarshan, with the BCCI.

ZTL will only require to be paid production costs as mutually agreed as well as any telecast fee, which ZTL would be required to pay to Prasar Bharati. ZTL shall also deposit with BCCI the entire amount which it may collect from international syndication sales without deducting our sales commission there from (BCCI had paid 15 per cent commission for the last series for international syndication sales),Zee had said.

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