Nimbus to market DD telecast feed

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today ordered Nimbus Sports to deposit Rs 55 million within a week, even as it gave the marketing rights to the former because it had said it could raise almost five times more than competing public broadcaster Prasar Bharati out of the ongoing India-West Indies match-up and the upcoming One-Day International series involving Sri Lanka.

The court, hearing the issue of marketing rights between Prasar Bharati and Nimbus, was told by the pubcaster that it could raise Rs 42.6 million from marketing the seven cricket ODIs involving India, on their stand-alone DD Sports channel. To this, Nimbus had said that they would raise Rs 220 million if given the marketing rights for the DD Sports channel, and hence was given the rights to market the events, to which they hold rights, on behalf of DD.

"This means DD would actually get much more than it had hoped for. If they had to market their own channel, they would have got Rs 42.6 million, theoretically, and they would have to give away 75 per cent of that to Nimbus Sports, as per their own guidelines and offers made by them. Now they are getting Rs 220 million without a marketing exercise," sources held.

Meanwhile, the rights to market events on AIR's 69 channels lies with Prasar Bharati, and the court will decide on the revenue sharing ratio on 10 February, when the rest of the contentious issue would also be taken up. The court, however, held that though Prasar Bharati could stream the matches thorough its DTH platform, it could not allow any private DTH operator to access that and show the matches.

Prasar Bharati spokesperson Manish Desai told, "We have no arrangements with any private DTH operators to access our DTH signal, but ours is a free-to-air channel and we have no mechanism to stop this. The court has been informed of this and it has taken note of this too."

Officials said that DD had quoted a low rate of Rs 42.6 million as they were to market only their own channel, and that too at a seven-minute delayed telecast. Sources also pointed out that they feel that with this not being a prime event for various reasons, and hence marketing it at a high rate could be well nigh impossible.

Among the reasons cited are that this is the fourth quarter of the financial year and most corporates are tightening their purse strings. Secondly, in the coming matches with Sri Lanka involved and some of their prize players not likely to be in the team, like Chaminda Vaas, the attraction level is low, DD officials feel. The third reason is that recent abysmal performance of India in South Africa had dampened viewership substantially.

They pointed out too that even as of date, Nimbus' Neo Sports is not carrying too many advertisements, with a large volume of them being their own channel advertisements.

In that sense, there was a sense of relief within Prasar Bharati that it would rake in more than it was expecting to.

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