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Sight Screen

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The usual telecast imbroglio (-worma)

Few months back GoI passed a directive that all international cricket matches featuring India would compulsorily be shown on DD, irrespective of the winner of the telecast bid. The order was also to apply in retrospect...for the telecast deals already made between BCCI and a channel.

Since this meant a paid bidder (channel) having to share its feed with DD, the way out suggested by GoI (or rather, ordered?) was that DD would share 80% of the revenue from such telecast (mainly advert money) with the original rights holder. Fair enough?

Now comes the confusion....the recent tussle between Ten Sports, holder of Ind-Pak series rights, and DD. Ten is forced by GoI directive, goes to Supreme Court saying it would incur a loss of Rs 20C Cr. Then DD(or the court, on its behalf) offers to pay 25 Cr, to push Ten above the loss (rather, into profit I would think?). But, hold on, Ten wants DD to pay that money, and then...make no money from advertisement...i.e. relay the Ten feed without generating any revenue of its own.

How come? Where did this twist come from...why the heck should the tax-payers of India add to the profits of Ten Sports? Note that Ten was already being offered a sum beyond the losses it was portraying...so where is the problem?

The GoI directive, when it was announced, was IMO a very well intentioned one. To let the masses of India cheaper access to our matches without the right-holders being ripped off (hence the 80-20 division) their investments...okay the retrospective aspect of the directive may be debatable. But why this further confusion.

Ofcourse, we know that the real reasoning lies elsewhere. That the unregulated 'cottage industry' that is cable service in India is fuelled by the un-ethical hikes in subscription fees (and the following arm-twisting) around the important Indian cricketing assignments. And sharing the feed with DD (even if being offered 80% of the revenue DD earns from it) would suck the life-blood out of this monster.

I'm sure there's lots more to follow...we haven't seen the last of this...more certain than death and taxes :-)


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