Indian Oil Cup tri-series: DD to show 90-minute highlights

 NEW DELHI: A day after the Supreme Court poured cold water on pubcaster Doordarshan’s hopes of arm-twisting the terrestrial feed from Ten Sports for the upcoming tri-series cricket in Sri Lanka, the two parties have reached agreement for a highlights package.

As per the terms of the deal, DD will show a daily 90-minute highlights package of the matches played, which will be broken in two parts.

The deal was agreed upon a day after sports broadcasters, in a meeting with government officials, expressed concern on the issue of sharing with DD on a mandatory basis feed of any sporting events considered of national/public importance.

After a spell of protracted negotiations today between the pubcaster and the Dubai-based Ten Sports, it was agreed that the latter will make available a highlights package comprising clean feed for terrestrial broadcast on DD National.

DD, which in the past has boasted of its terrestrial reach facilitating a good crop of advertisers, will manage the marketing of the highlights package. The revenue generated, however, will be equally shared between Ten and the pubcaster.

A DD official while admitting that the turn of events for the Lankan tri-series has not turned out as expected (read, in favour of the pubcaster), said, “At least we would have the highlights for millions of our viewers, most of who would have to do without the excitement of live cricket where the national team too is participating.”

Ten Sports, whose CEO Chris McDonald is in India and led the negotiations on behalf of his company, was not available for comments.

To facilitate airing of the highlights package, DD would also extend its terrestrial transmission by about 30 minutes beyond midnight, an official of DD said.

In a short hearing yesterday, the apex court had restrained the Kerala High Court from passing any order on a public interest petition seeking sharing of the live telecast feed (generated by Ten) of the Indian Oil Cup tri-series with Doordarshan.


With the issue of sharing sporting events with the terrestrial broadcaster (irrespective of the rights holder) becoming a hot potato, a clutch of private sports broadcasters met up with government officials on Thursday to discuss the matter.

An official of the information and broadcasting ministry today told that “some concerns” were expressed by broadcasters who say they acquire rights of events at a huge cost and sharing it with DD would “upset their business model.”

Still, the government official maintained that some of the arguments extended by private broadcasters against having such a law, a la the UK and Australia, for example, may not cut much ice with policy-makers.

the official also added that since the matter, part of a proposed new set of uplink and downlink guidelines, has been referred to a group of ministers, I&B ministry would not be able to take a stand on the issue now in isolation.

“Every country is free to legislate laws to suit it, which is generally the norm worldwide. But to say that just because business models would get upset, laws should not be framed is taking India for granted. Everybody knows India is a huge market for TV companies,” the official stoutly defended I&B ministry’s proposed legislation.

But as a concession to the sentiments of sports broadcasters, most of whom are foreign owned, the government is likely to form a committee, comprising representatives from the industry too, to look into the issue of sporting events that could be considered of national importance.

Some other talking points between sports broadcasters and the government were whether DD could have the option of acquiring live terrestrial rights for all India playing ODIs from private broadcasters that own them. This includes matches played in India or outside.

DD could also have the option to acquire live semi final and final matches of all one day tournaments where India is participating irrespective of whether India makes it to these stages.

Other points that cropped up during a meeting with I&B ministry secretary SK Arora included sharing of ad revenue for events telecast by DD after getting rights from private broadcasters and the agency that would market these events on DD.

Another issue was that of protection of subscription revenue of private broadcasters by encrypting the feed that DD would distribute terrestrially.

But it all depends on the group of ministers, which will decide whether such a law would, if passed, would be made effective on retrospective basis.

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