Television

ICC fails to make demands on Indian govt

NEW DELHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) after initially rubbishing Indian government media norms on cricket content sharing with pubcaster Prasar Bharati, today diplomatically made no demands on New Delhi.

"We are looking at ways to reach a compromise so that cricket is not damaged,” Reuters quoted ICC president Ehsan Mani telling a news conference after a meeting of all the members in Karachi today.

Pointing out that the meeting was “useful”, Mani was quoted as saying, “It (the meeting) was not held to find solutions to this issue, but to understand and discuss the impact this legislation by the Indian government could have on member boards."

The Karachi meeting was touted as a platform to discuss an Indian government ruling on TV rights, which mandates that all sporting events of national importance will have to be shared with Prasar Bharati on a mandatory basis.

The ICC had expressed its fears that the Indian government move would hit some of its cash-strapped members in a major way as it would reduce the revenue now generated by selling rights to televise international cricket in the lucrative Indian satellite market.

According to Reuters, Mani said the reach of terrestrial television in India was 108 million homes, while satellite broadcasters reached 63 to 64 million homes.

"The meeting has also discussed constructive suggestions on how to reduce this shortfall to help the Indian government reach its objective and try to protect the sport," Mani added.

While the Indian government was preparing to release its downlink policies, Mani had written to the Indian Prime Minister, pointing out the complications a 'must-share' clause would cause. In the letter, Mani said such a decision would affect finances of the cash-stripped ICC member countries such as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and West Indies.

Agriculture minister and Indian cricket board chief Sharad Pawar was slated to put forward India’s viewpoints in the Karachi meeting.

However Mani, according to the Reuters report from Karachi, did say that the Indian government's guidelines are “not specific and remain vague.”

He added: “This meeting has helped us give a better understanding of the situation by also talking to the broadcasters."

Several broadcasters and sports marketing and production agencies were also scheduled to share their views on the Indian norms relating to sports broadcasting the details of which are not forthcoming.

No live commentary on All India Radio

ICC might not have come up with clear cut demands on the Indian government, but Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan and All India Radio, has turned out to be a looser as far as the India-Pakistan cricket series 2006 is concerned.

Finally, AIR today announced that there will not be any live commentary of the India-Pakistan Test series beginning in Lahore tomorrow.

Earlier, DD had agreed in the Supreme Court to air only highlights, while letting Ten Sports, exclusive rights holder of Pakistan cricket, to telecast live cricket from Pakistan.

AIR today said that its negotiations for radio rights with the Dubai-based ARY Digital has failed and listeners will have to be satisfied with match updates on its FM Rainbow, Gold and Primary channels.

All India Radio had secured radio rights for the 2004 Indo-Pak series in Pakistan for $ 40,000, but this time it was asked to cough up, $ 250,000 for the series, the release said.

''AIR did make a substantial increase in its offer price ($ 80,000) in public interest but could not achieve a breakthrough,'' the Prasar Bharati release stated.

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