DD threatens legal action over ESS' highlights

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: A delayed response if ever there was one. More than a day after ESPN Star Sports announced that it had secured a deal with Prasar Bharati to air daily two-hour highlights packages of the ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series, the pubcaster is crying foul.


A senior official in Prasar Bharati tells that Doordarshan is planning to serve a legal notice on ESPN Star Sports in the matter.

According to the official, "The terms and conditions of our offering of video clips for cricket was meant only for news channels and ESPN Star Sports clearly does not fit into that category. Moreover, the terms and conditions (in regards to video clips) make it clear that cricket programmes cannot be built up by using such footage. ESS' daily highlights programme has been titled "Showdown".


As already reported on, DD was charging news channels Rs 6,000 per minute for any cricket footage that exceeded two minutes of the days on-field action. Going by that calculation, ESS would be paying DD a measly Rs 360,000 a day for the highlights package even if one were to calculate the full two hours as being the time covered. And if ESS were to only pay for footage used, then actual payout would in all probability be much less.

When contacted, ESS India MD RC Venkateish made an interesting comment. According to Venkateish, "Whatever we are doing has been discussed and agreed upon between Doordarshan and ESS."

Another point of note is that while DD mopped up just Rs 16.9 million as advertising revenue during the Mohali Test match, the pubcaster has billed 15 channels a total of Rs 25 million for using cricket video clips of the first Test.

At least as far as DD is concerned, "ESS poaches daily highlights package" would about sum up its views on the private sports broadcaster's action. On the face of it that is. Venkateish's assertion of course puts an entirely different light on the matter.


According to a statement by I&B minister Jaipal Reddy in Parliament today, the pubcaster has "offered to pay" a sum of Rs 945 million to the Indian cricket board as the rights fee for the Indo-Pak series.

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