Prasar Bharati softens, to pay 'legitimate' amount to BCCI

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Prasar Bharati today stuck to its guns that it has been handed the exclusive telecast rights for the Indian region by a court, but today softened its stand a bit on payment for the rights.

While insisting that the telecast rights could not be split up into satellite and terrestrial for the India region at least, a senior official of Prasar Bharati today said, "If the Indian cricket board insists, we are not averse to paying for the telecast rights what we feel is legitimate."


Though the official did not elaborate on this today, it does indicate that DD may pay the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), through the Madras high court, which has asked parties concerned to maintain a separate account for the series, some token amount that would be much below what the Board had expected earlier.

According to unconfirmed reports, DD had offered BCCI for the rights a sum between Rs 500 million and Rs 800 million, minus the production cost that would be done by a third party. The big question of course is whether that is a take it or leave it offer on the pubcaster's part. Because if it is, then the Indian cricket board is going to get peanuts out of this series by way of revenues. Current indications are that the BCCI will garner about $ 10 million (Rs 450 million) from the sale of international rights. The most likely candidate to get the international rights being SET Satellite Singapore.

Since the upper amount of Rs 800 million that DD is offering reportedly includes production costs and agency commission and sundry other cost add-ons, the pure cash inflow to the BCCI may well be the lower figure of Rs 500 million. Therefore if one deducts the $ 1.5 million (Rs 67.5 million) payout that is going to Trans World International as production fees, cash in hand for the BCCI out of the series could well be in the region of Rs 900 million.



It stands out even more starkly if one considers that the value attached by Zee Telefilms to this particular series when it first made its $ 260 million punt for the India rights was roughly $ 43 million (Rs 1.93 billion).

Meanwhile, at an empowered committee meeting on marketing today, Prasar Bharati maintained that Doordarshan would not only telecast the India-Pakistan cricket home series, but would also market them.

Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma had earlier told that DD has managed to sell a major portion of the air time inventory. Prasar Bharati may make some additional revenue from ad sales on radio as All India Radio would broadcast a running commentary for the matches.

A few days ago, Sarma and former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya had met to discuss cricket-related issues after which Sarma had said DD has sold most of its airtime inventory.

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