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DD has no plans to buy rights of cricket WC '19 & Tests: MIB

Prasar Bharati will rely on existing mandatory sharing laws for cricket matches

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NEW DELHI: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has stated that national broadcaster Doordarshan will continue relying on existing laws to air live and shared signals of relevant international cricket matches, the rights for which may be with some private broadcaster, while clarifying there were no plans to directly acquire rights for Tests or the cricket World Cup 2019.

Quoting inputs from Prasar Bharati, parent of Indian pubcasters DD and All India Radio, MIB Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore told fellow parliamentarians that “live telecast of cricket matches” was being done on Doordarshan Sports channel under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, which was passed by the Parliament and notified the same year. These matches included the ongoing cricket series between India and England comprising three T20s and three one-dayers.

“The Act enjoins upon the rights holder to share with Prasar Bharati, live broadcasting signals of sports events of national importance for which they hold broadcast rights to enable Prasar Bharati to re-transmit the same on its terrestrial and DTH networks,” Rathore explained.

However, the government did not explain as to why it did not insist on shared TV feeds of five-day Test matches.

Incidentally, Star India, managers of several sports channels and rights holders of IPL and several other cricket properties, which were acquired on payment of several billions of dollars, had filed a case in the Supreme Court against unencrypted signals of DD’s satellite-delivered channels not only spilling over to other countries, but also pirated by distribution platforms within India too during cricket matches. Star got a favourable directive from the apex court in 2017, though Prasar Bharati had described it as an opportunity. as it helped it to bring the focus back on DD Sports channel.

Meanwhile, answering to other queries raised by parliamentarians on cricket, Rathore admitted there was “no proposal to acquire the broadcast rights” for live telecast of Test series between India and England, and the Cricket World Cup in 2019. The broadcast rights for India region for the ongoing England tour of India lies with Sony Pictures Networks India.

DD Can’t Be Compared To Private Sector TV Channels’

Pointing out that DD’s programming is more focused on issues of public interest like health, education, empowerment, social justice, etc., the Minister said that the pubcaster’s programmes could “not be be compared” with private channels as both have totally different objectives and programming formats.

However, Doordarshan is striving to provide “impactful and meaningful” programmes to become the “preferred channel of choice of people”, Rathore said, adding it was a constant endeavour of DD to modernize its infrastructure and improve the quality of programmes.

“Doordarshan has undertaken a comprehensive plan to improve the programme content, and look and feel of all national and regional channels in DD network,” the Minister said, highlighting that efforts were being made to empanel creative agencies that can work for better look and feel of the channel(s).

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