Indo-Pak series: Exclusivity will see Rs 200 million ramp-up in distribution revenues

MUMBAI: It's time to bring out the calculators for the SET Discovery channel distribution bouquet. Ten Sports, the sports channel in its second bouquet, will not have to share content with pubcaster Doordarshan for live telecast of the three India-Pakistan Test matches.

One benefit of this: SET Discovery is now looking to increase the subscription revenues it expects from the Indo-Pak Test series by anywhere between Rs 150 million and Rs 200 million, according to senior executives in the sports broadcasting business.

The growth will come from smaller cable operators and Ten Sports will also be able to increase its penetration across the country. Besides, One Alliance (the brand name under which SET Discovery operates) will be able to streamline outstandings and improve its collections from the ground.

"There is potential to make Rs 150-200 million from the series even if it may have to share the one-dayers with Doordarshan. The business will get securitised over 15 days of live and exclusive coverage of Test cricket," a senior executive of a leading sports broadcasting company said.

One Alliance, however, will not be able to ramp up subscribers from most of the multi system operators (MSOs) who have existing deals till March-end. The increase will, thus, come from the smaller operators.

Commenting on the developments in the Supreme Court today, Set Discovery president Anuj Gandhi said, "We are extremely happy. But there was undue ambiguity which should have been cleared earlier."

One Alliance, in fact, will have just two days as the series starts 13 January. This will give the company little time to ramp up deals with cable operators. Additionally, Ten Sports cannot threaten switch-offs to put pressure on cable networks for paying more since according to the existing directives from broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), a channel has to give a month's notice before any such action. If the Supreme Court's decision had come earlier, it would in all likelihood have helped SET Discovery generate more revenues from cable operators.

Having said that, it is clear that Ten Sports will improve visibility and further grow revenues from ad sales.

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