Television

Nimbus signs on Sahara as India telecast partner for England series

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MUMBAI: The third and most critical piece of the India cricket telecast pie for the upcoming India-England series has now been settled with the unveiling of the cable & satellite broadcaster for the India territory as Sahara One.

Sahara One Television will broadcast the India-England international cricket series starting 1 March, and consisting of 3 Tests and 7 ODIs. As already announced, Doordarshan is the terrestrial broadcaster while the England territory rights remain with Sky Sports.

Nimbus Communications, the BCCI's global media rights partner for Indian cricket till March 2010, today signed a landmark deal with Sahara One Media And Entertainment Limited's satellite & cable channel in India, Sahara One Television, to broadcast the series.

In addition to the live telecast, Nimbus will be producing wrap around programming pre/post match and during breaks. Nimbus Sport, the BCCI's appointed producer, will supply the world feed (live coverage) to Sahara One.

As is the case with DD, Nimbus will be exclusively marketing commercial airtime during the series on Sahara One. The ad sales arrangement between Nimbus and Sahara involves an upside sharing beyond specified revenue thresholds.

Shailendra Singh, head of Sahara One Media And Entertainment Limited, said, "We are delighted to partner with Nimbus and Indian cricket in this new strategic initiative to take Indian cricket to the next level. Sahara India Pariwar has deep commitment to cricket and we are sure that our massive reach in cable homes will ensure that this exciting series achieves record-breaking ratings."

Singh told indiantelevision.com that Sahara would definitely set in motion the drive towards pay after acquiring the rights. "We are working on several things. It is a good combination. We are a general entertainment channel and Nimbus understands cricket. Nimbus will handle the ad sales and we will do a minor portion of it. As a general entertainment channel, we have more connectivity than a sports channel," he said.

For the present though, given that Sahara One is free-to-air, it also ensures that there are no cable black outs of the channel as becomes the case often with sports channels trying to extract pay TV revenues.

Commenting on the deal, Akash Khurana, MD & CEO, Nimbus, said "Our choice of the Sahara One platform was dictated by the fact that the channel has near 100 per cent distribution in cable homes compared to sports channels that barely reach 50 per cent of cable homes; and by the amazing commitment and vision for cricket of the Sahara India Pariwar."

In addition to Sahara One's live broadcast and wrap-around programming, the Sahara One Network shall produce unilaterals that shall be aired exclusively on Sahara FILMY and Sahara News, focusing on the glamour events and behind-the-scenes action respectively around this series.

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