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Sight Screen

Thursday, October 27, 2005

More links

In the International Herald Trib, this piece by the former Hindu frontman, on the charms of Test cricket pegged on the upcoming contest between Pakistan and Australia.
Elsewhere, police apparently have presented the PCA with a tab for providing security; Rs 7.3 million being the figure mentioned. New one on me, I thought the police provided security for international fixtures as a matter of course. Sets an interesting precedent, this -- how about the police, when next national political leaders go campaigning, presenting them with bills for guarding their skin?
Business Standard has an editorial on the decision to force private broadcasters to share feeds with DD; bad economics and bad in principle, is the verdict.
And in passing, Victoria is being investigated for ball tampering

26 Comments:

  • http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/apphoto/wire?id=200

    By Blogger boondock_cricketer, at 11:54  

  • used to really enjoy r mohan's columns growin up. Any idea why he quit the hindu?

    By Blogger Narad Han, at 11:58  

  • Prem, in that business standard article...this part I didnt understand

    But this is misleading since, as private telecasters have argued in a report in this newspaper, the additional revenue that will accrue to them in a sharing situation will be 10-15 per cent of the total revenue, which will be much smaller than the loss in subscription.

    I thought DD was asked, in this GoI directive, to give 80% of the revenue to the right holder.

    I also think that the private channels are misleading....they are *not* in direct competition with a majority of DD viewers (who either dont have the money to subscribe to cabel tv or the reach of cabel subscription in their regions). This percentage is very high, IMO.

    I also think that the biggest problem that the private channels have is that without such monopolisitc control on the match...they would not be able to blackmail the cable operators before each series..as they do today. Every time there is an imp series...they raise their subscription money....and cable operators go on strike....and in most cases they have to cough up. While we often miss the matches.(atleast start of the series).

    Its almost a known 'fact' amongst the viewers (and I read in media also) that these private channels use these match occasions as the time of year when they decide to raise the subscription fees.

    And the biggest problem with this, you know, is the amount of advertisements that they offload on us....nowhere in the world have I seen so many advertisements on pay channels!

    By Blogger worma, at 12:26  

  • http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/223299.html

    Why is this guy refering to Jaggu Dalmiya ? Its about England's tour itenary ? Is Dalmiya the BCCI president to the outside world . Who is Ranbir singh Mahendra then ? or BCCI and Dalmiya are the same thing ?

    By Blogger Adi, at 12:39  

  • Worma i think what private channels are saying that 80% of the revenue generated by the DD will be equal to the 10-15% of the loss revenue as subscriber amount.
    I found it debatable. this could be fixed by letting the private channel market and sell the advertisement and just offer DD some fixed amount for relaying the feed.
    Also i am sure that not many subscribers will be disconnecting ESPN and Ten Sports if their rates are decent. Yeah one thing for sure they will have no opporunity to black mail the subscribers now.

    By Blogger Vick, at 12:44  

  • worma:
    Who "owns" the cricket matches played by India in India? The Indian people or BCCI (a separate entity!)?

    By Blogger losing now, at 12:48  

  • vick...exactly....I dont think this is correct. I dont think DD's and private channels's target segment of subscribers intersect too much. Ofcourse its true that everyone who has ESPN also has DD coverage...so if ESPN tries to use the cricket rights to demand more money..then it would not work now.

    And that 10-15% is really debatable. But then ESPN throws in 'potential loss of revenue' which is a subjective thing...difficult to actually calculate.

    By Blogger worma, at 12:49  

  • losing now...BCCI owns those matches played in India (which is the same with cricket boards around the world). Nothing to do with 'people of India' at all.


    Also...slightly side track...but this is why Bindra, who recently claimed that BCCI doing deal with WorldTel instead of Nimbus was causing a loss to Indian public, was wrong. Indian public loses nothing(except maybe the 'tax' which BCCI would pay to the GoI on the additional revenue?)

    By Blogger worma, at 12:51  

  • worma:
    I see. So why is the government of India (which represents the 'people of India') asking another entity(BCCI) on "how it should sell (including pricing, revenue sharing etc) its products to its customers?.

    By Blogger losing now, at 12:55  

  • it would be nice if you count indian rupees in lakhs instead of millions. say 73 laksh instantly you know how much instead of 7.3 million rupees.

    By Blogger PreHistoric Bird, at 13:14  

  • it would be nice if you count indian rupees in lakhs instead of millions. say 73 laksh instantly you know how much instead of 7.3 million rupees.

    By Blogger PreHistoric Bird, at 13:14  

  • losing now: govt of India can make rules for any private company/organisation...especially in the name of doing good for people of India. Thats what government regulations(over private bodies) are for. I dont think there is anything wrong with it. Its the same as any other govt regulatory control over a private sector...eg. FDI in tv channels...or telecom etc...all of it is to protect national interest...and interest of people of the nation.

    Now BCCI is in a 'sector' where its probably the only body worth any attention..so we think its unusual control over BCCI

    Btw...do you know there is a recent outcry in UK that the ECB has granted the new cricket rights to a satellite channel(sky) instead of terrestrial tv(which is free in UK)....so what is the basis of this protest? Its still not died down...and still chances of this decision being reversed.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:34  

  • Government of India doing good for the people in India. Do you seriously believe that? The only interest the GoI has is in advertising revenue. Since India is actively trying to discard the socialist economic model and adopt a semi-capitalist one, it has no right to interfere in a matter where revenue is the only prize. There are no matters on national security, economic monopoly, social good, etc. here. Why doesn't the GoI rule that every automobile manufacturer that wants to do business in India should provide their engine designs to Hindustan Motors for free.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 13:55  

  • worma:

    govt of India can make rules for any private company/organisation...especially in the name of doing good for people of India.

    I don't think forcing private channels to share their feed in the name of letting people watch cricket for free is "doing good for people". If so, what about Free education? Free Healthcare? Free food? Free housing? Roti, Kapdaa aur Makaan. These are the three *most* essential things for indian citizen. why are these not free??

    Why do GOI allow builders to build poor buildings and sell them at whatever price they want? Is GOI regulating land rates? Why does it not force builders to build buildings and provide them FREE to poor people???? DAMN!!! GOI is not even regulating prices of Onions and potatoes when poors people are dying of hunger. Why is GOI not providing FREE MEAL to all poor people??? Or atleast to those whom it can provide??? How many people have GOI clothed for free when they die of cold every year?????

    And you think that watching cricket is more important that all these things? That GOI is doing good by *forcing* private channels to share feed?? Why is GOI concentrating on cricket so much?? Ever thought about that????

    Point I am making is this, that GOI is interfering with cricket only because cricket it a *hot item* and because it does not have any *responsibility* in the decisions it take towards cricket.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 14:14  

  • Ruchir,
    You sounded like Vijay of Deewar..

    "jao pehle ja ke usks sign le ke aao jisne yeh kiya, jaao ja ki uska sign le ke aao jisne woh kiya... tab mere bhai, tab mein sign karoonga"

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 14:21  

  • ruchir...ofcourse those things you list are necessary...and to be done (btw...there are efforts in those areas...some good some failed....e.g. govt schools are free..although often without resources or teachers....there are PDS systems designed for poor people to get food...there is a recent govt proposal to give minimum payment to poor people if they cannot get work...etc etc...) but not getting into a social policy discussion here.

    Simple thing is...any nation...India or any other..has to work on all those front at the same time. It cant be that you keep saying that since poor are not getting food...so forget everthing else!...

    hjrsingh...mate...this can grow into a months long debate. But answer me the simple question...do you think govt of india is not doing *any* good for the poor of our country? So...basically...nothing done unless there is money to be made?

    Anyway...I dont have much to say on this....not in this forum.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:24  

  • Worma:
    "Regulations to protect the interest of the people of the nation". Sounds good.


    What is included in regulations? Do regulations include "how to price your product, how to distribute your product, how to share revenues across distribution channels, how much profit you can make, how much you can pay your employees, vendors etc".

    Also, "protect the interests of the people of the nation". As a huge Indian cricket fan, I would like to believe that "Ability to watch Indian cricket is in the interest of the people of the nation". Really? *L*.

    I know of the ECB and UK outcry ..and IMHO that decision will not be reversed. The contracts signed by SKY and ECB were under the law of the nation at that time and the govt cannot willy-nilly change the laws, retroactively.

    Anyway, to cut this discussion short..as i need to go.. I partially agree with Business standard that the decision is "bad in principle". Whether it is bad in economics, can be debated by us (who do not have the real #s and who can only guess) till the cows come home.

    By Blogger losing now, at 14:24  

  • santa:

    Am I sounding like Vijay? Damn, I must be good.... ;-)

    Vijay or not, my point still remains. GOI is indulging in cricket because it does not have absolutely any responsibility with regards to it. For Roti, Kapadaa aur Makaan; these are the basic neccessities of life that, GOI should make sure, most people should have. But it is not doing so, because it is it's direct responsibility.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 14:26  

  • regulations are industrial policies...foreign stake related policies...labour laws(yes..that cover what you pay to your employee...structure etc)..dude all thoes things you listed are regulated by GoI (and other govts in other countries)

    Whether ECB decision would be reversed or not....it is an *issue* even in a developed country...what does that tell you?

    Sure bad economic decision can be debated....and my opinion was that ESPN etc were more concerend with the fact that they cannot blackmail their subscribers for increased money (which they unfailingly do, each time a series comes up....this from personal experience)

    ruchir...dont get your point at all!..what do you want the govt to do??...stop all policy making and work on getting the food for poor and education?? Nothing else to be done till that is over?????...btw...how do they get the money to work on the problems of the poor?

    As I said...this is a *huge* issue.....but as I also said....there are hoards of people working on these social policies in the govt (again I know due to personal reasons...knowing individuals working on it..the matters of the policy on which they are working etc).

    Just as an example...here are couple of links on what govt is doing for poor (and this is only a tiny fraction of all that is done in this area)

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2004123101451000.htm&date=2004/12/31/&prd=th&

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2005092606061000.htm&date=2005/09/26/&prd=th&

    By Blogger worma, at 14:37  

  • worma:

    GOI wants channels to share their feed so that people not having cable access can watch cricket. Right?

    Why can't DD *purchase* live feed from the ground and telecast it? That was it can show its own ads and share, say, 25% of ad money (if required) with supplying channel. The other channel with get the purchase money and 25% ad money from DD and it will, probably, make up for it's potentially lost business.

    This can happen, right? So why does GOI want to have the feed shared? and not bought?

    Which brings me to the question: Why is GOI meddeling with cricket when it does not own BCCI or any other state cricket organization? What is the basis of the belief that letting more people watch cricket is good them?

    Don't get me started on Employment scheme. It was the brainchild of Sonia Manio. All communist parties are against this employment guarantee scheme. I have read so many articles from various economists, some in Rediff too, that this particular scheme in unteneble and can not be implemented. Simply because GOI don't have that kind of money and it can not create those many jobs. It is an empty promise made to win elections. Ditto for social security scheme. If you search articles on that scheme you will see other point of views too.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 15:05  

  • ruchir...do you know what GoI has directed in this regard? That DD would get the *shared* feed....and out of all the ad money, sponsorship etc that DD earns...it will have to give 80% of it to the private channel....and you are talking about 25% sharing!!

    As to your statement " What is the basis of the belief that letting more people watch cricket is good them?"...well can't say much on this....if you ask question the popularity of cricket in India..what do I say!...

    About the employement scheme...well you said govt is not working for poor...and I showed you it is(whether the scheme needs changes or not)...and if you say its only for votes...then why did you ask govt to work for poor. Each time they work...you'll say its for elections (unless its a money generation scheme, then you'll say its only for money). As for debate on these actual policies being worked on....you show me any social policy implemented in any country and I'll show you the crticism made of it when it was in planning phase. Again...not getting into this policy per se...because thats not the matter of debate here.

    The matter of debate, as you started it, is why id govt going behind cricket as 'service to people' rather than working for providing for poor. And I believe you stil havent answered my questions...that do you want to govt to work for food and education *only*..and *nothing else* (esp not something that generates revenue for them) till these problems are solved??

    By Blogger worma, at 15:15  

  • Way to go Worma!! exactly my thoughts.

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 15:17  

  • worma:

    I am asking DD to *buy* the feed not share it. When DD *buys* the feed, it pays an agreed amout of money upfront to the channel supplying the feed. On top of that amount I said DD can give any % of its AD revenue. It can be 25%, more than that or less than that. That DD and other channel can decide between them. I feel DD would have to pay more money if it buys the feed rather than pay 80% when it shares because when buying, the purchase price will be decided by the other channel. Hence GOI is forcing to share not buy.

    I am not questioning the popularity of cricket. I am questioning why does GOI want to control it's telecast?? Just because it is popular?? So, tomorrow will GOI control the sale price of Baja scooter because it is most popular scooter in India? Will GOI tell Bajaj to sell its scooter at max Rs 20K because *more* people will be able to buy?? What gives GOI any right to decide how a private organization should work as long as it is not haring national security???

    Did I say Govt is not working for poor???? I don't remember saying it. I said if GOI wants people to watch FREE cricket then what is stopping it from providing other important neccessities FREE????

    UPA won elections in 2004, right? Did you ever try to find out why it took them so long to bring Employment scheme up for discussion among their UPA constituents??

    You have a scheme where GOI will provide 100 days of work per year to one able bodied person in every poor household. Economists have raised questions like, where will moeny come from? Where will jobs be created from? How will GOI cover most if not all poor people? What are the safeguards against frauds in this scheme? There are no answers from GOI for these questions. That is why most people, including constituents of UPA, say that this is a scheme that is only for show, not for implementation.

    You say I will critisize every good thing done by GOI as *only for votes*? Well, Lalu started a scheme, before previous Bihar elections, where any one going for an interview can travel FREE in train provided he shows an interview letter to TT. According to you it should be a very good scheme, helping poor etc. In reality it is nothing but BS. I can print a fake letter and show it to TT and travel free all my life in train. It harms Raliways more than it helps. Employment scheme is similar. If and When implemented it will harm the nation's economy more than it will help, per most economists.

    I don't want GOI to work only on food and eucation only. But I also don't want GOI to interfere where it does not need to interfere.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 15:49  

  • Yeah, if the GOI doesn't interfare, not a single Indian in India would get to watch Cricket.

    And Santa - Not only he speaks like one, he act like the Vijay of Deewar too, i.e. supporting the Gair Kanooni dhandha of sporting streams. ;)

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 19:17  

  • oracle:

    Every Indian would be able to watch cricket *without any coercion* if GOI asks DD to *buy* the feed. DD will earn the money back thru Ads. No one will loose money and viewership.

    And your taunts about sportingstreams are getting stale and un-funny. Think of something else. :-)

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 19:44  

  • ruchir :

    >>I am asking DD to *buy* the feed not share it. When DD *buys* the feed, it pays an agreed amout of money upfront to the channel supplying the feed.

    So you are saying DD should buy the telecast from ESPN and GoI should not force ESPN to share it? Why would ESPN sell the feed to DD? Unless its at a price above its own profit model....which would mean loss making for DD. Why would DD necesarily want to make loss? And if it doesnt...those who have only DD dont get to see the match. What the govt is proposing(or is trying to propose) is a model in which DD just makes enough money(20% of the revenue) that its not loss making. Or atleast thats the intention. And sure, in this model ESPN may make slightly less money than normal(well I can argue that also) but thats a way for corporates to subsidize the poor people. Its similar to telecom policy where each operator getting the cellular license gives a committment to govt to provide x% of coverage to rural(loss making) areas. None of them follow it, though.

    >>On top of that amount I said DD can give any % of its AD revenue. It can be 25%, more than that or less than that. That DD and other channel can decide between them. I feel DD would have to pay more money if it buys the feed rather than pay 80% when it shares because when buying, the purchase price will be decided by the other channel. Hence GOI is forcing to share not buy.

    I explained the logic of this above.

    >>I am not questioning the popularity of cricket.

    This is your question from earlier ""What is the basis of the belief that letting more people watch cricket is good them?"" So..what are you implying here, if not questioning the popularity of cricket?

    >>I am questioning why does GOI want to control it's telecast?? Just because it is popular??

    Govt of India (and govt of many other countries) control a lot of things for the benfit of their citizens. We just chanced to discuss cricket. I have you an example of telecom above...how govt has to control it to protect the rights of lesser privilaged(although it doesnt succeed..the private bodies still swindle). Similarily govt controls foreign direct investment in industries to protect the local labour and industry....or for example the subsidization of farmers (a very hot debatable issue worldwide) to protect the interest of local farmers..(this is done by most of the developed nations as well...and is a hot issue in WTO)...anyway...you get the point I'm trying to make.

    >>So, tomorrow will GOI control the sale price of Baja scooter because it is most popular scooter in India? Will GOI tell Bajaj to sell its scooter at max Rs 20K because *more* people will be able to buy??

    First of all...a scooter is not a product for the poor....and second of all...govt has done its part to make sure that scooters are not monopolised by Bajaj (which they used to...and had crappy old technology for long until competition came along). The price of scooters get sorted out through open markets. The tv broadcast cannot...because it becomes the monopoly of a single channel winning the right. There are other examples where the interest of the poor are not catered for...and there govt intervenes(and I gave some of those above). But ofcouse, govt has to decide what sector it should interfere in, for the benefit of underprivileged. Scooters are not one of them. Oil is...food is...basic transportation is....lots of such areas where govt maintains price control. But despite this, remember that the govt is not asking ESPN to control its subscription price. Its just asking to share the feed with DD so that those who cannot afford ESPN are able to watch the sport(and more than majority of DD viewers can still not afford ESPN). The intention of this govt directive is not to let DD make money on a right it didnt win, as clear from the 80-20 model it has proposed.

    >>What gives GOI any right to decide how a private organization should work as long as it is not haring national security???

    Dude....I gave you so many examples...from India and from outside India....from the 'developed' world as well. Its not just national security. For example...if GoI does not subsidize oil prices (or Britain does not subsidize its farmers) it would not threaten the national security of either country.

    >>Did I say Govt is not working for poor???? I don't remember saying it.

    And I also said that you are implying that instead of focussing on cricket GoI should focus on roti kapda makaan kind of problems. That is exactly the impression I get even after repeatedly reading your first few comments. Is my interpretation wrong?

    >>I said if GOI wants people to watch FREE cricket then what is stopping it from providing other important neccessities FREE????

    Well..lots of examples given above dude...and remember providing free cricket means a corporation has to subsidize it(meaning ESPN) while providing other free facilities (like food, shelter, education) which govt DOES try to provide (whether it succeeds or not) means *spending* govt money. There is a *huge* difference in these two...although it does work on both. And I also gave you other examples of how govt tries some other subsidies...some of these form its own money...and some where the burden is shared by private corporations (like ESPN, or like Telecom Operators etc)

    >>UPA won elections in 2004, right? Did you ever try to find out why it took them so long to bring Employment scheme up for discussion among their UPA constituents??

    I am not getting into a political discussion with you dude. This is not the place....I gave those policies as example of what GoI tries to do. Its a drop in the ocean. And for me, in giving those examples, it doesnt matter which *political* party is doing it. I hope you are not implying that you are supporting the cause of ESPN because of the UPA govt in power and that if NDA was there you would have supported DD?.

    >>You have a scheme where GOI will provide 100 days of work per year to one able bodied person in every poor household. Economists have raised questions like, where will moeny come from? Where will jobs be created from? How will GOI cover most if not all poor people? What are the safeguards against frauds in this scheme? There are no answers from GOI for these questions.
    GoI has lots of answers to those questions...as I said...since I know the people working on it...this is not a policy which is one page in length. Its a huge piece...and it does try to address a lot of those issues. Ofcourse there are things wrong with it, which is why it is being revised(in fact the article I gave you the link to, its not even one in 'praise' of the policy...its actually a criticism by Jean Drez....which says it needs amendments....but what it does say is that its a step in the right direction)....anyway...why are we debating this...

    >>You say I will critisize every good thing done by GOI as *only for votes*? Well, Lalu started a scheme, before previous Bihar elections, where any one going for an interview can travel FREE in train provided he shows an interview letter to TT. According to you it should be a very good scheme, helping poor etc.

    Dude *this* is a populistic scheme....I am not sure if there is a feasibility done for this kind of schemes. While the one which I gave example of....its been worked on for more than a year now...by economists..social policy makers(many of them independent of the govt...some of them have worked with many previous govts also)...non govt insitutions etc. Did you see a critique of the Laloo policy by a social economist like Jean Drez?...they dont even consider it worth mentioning.

    >>I don't want GOI to work only on food and eucation only. But I also don't want GOI to interfere where it does not need to interfere.

    So where does it need to interfere? And btw...who desides where it does need to interfere? I'm sure if you ask the people...a majority would say this is a good direction by GoI (the one on sharing of feeds). So..what does that mean? In fact many cable subscribers would also welcome it...because ESPN and Ten and SET take them for a ride at the time of each series. This is the point where I started from, and looks like its reached a full circle.


    And to your comment to Oracle:

    >>Every Indian would be able to watch cricket *without any coercion* if GOI asks DD to *buy* the feed.

    As I said..ESPN would have same problem selling it to DD as they have sharing it with DD. Unless they do it at exorbitantly high price. Which would then mean DD at loss...which, btw, means we the people making loss(since DD is run by GoI money)....instead of the private channel(ESPN in this case) making slightly less profit(even this is arguable). So which is better?

    By Blogger worma, at 01:57  

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