Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Mar 12, 2004
Variety - Sports
Ten Sports may use DD platform to reach out
New Delhi , March 11
THE match between Ten Sports and Doordarshan (DD) over the television rights for the upcoming Indo-Pak cricket series seems to be a fight to the last ball. While Prasar Bharati is pitching hard to get the terrestrial rights of these matches, Ten Sports is trying to make the most of the deal.
And one of the strong possibilities is Ten Sports offering its live feed to DD along with the advertisements and the logo. "There may not be any money transaction, but DD would provide a platform to Ten Sports," sources said. A final decision is expected on Friday.
On Thursday, Mr Chris McDonald, Managing Director of Ten Sports, Mr Lalit Modi, Managing Director of Modi Entertainment Network, and Mr R.K. Singh, Advisor, Cable Distribution Network, the distributors of the sports channel, met officials of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Prasar Bharati to thrash out a deal.
Among the various options that were being considered is Prasar Bharati acquiring the rights for a fee.
It had offered to pay about $8 million for the simulcast of the matches on Doordarshan, but Ten Sports is expecting about $24 million.
The I&B Ministry then asked Doordarshan to work out the rationale behind the Ten Sports demand.
Ten Sports has also been raising concerns about security and its loss of `exclusivity'.
"Since many of the large multi-system operators (MSOs) and independent cable operators have not signed up with the channel, Ten Sports is worried about cable operators pirating signals from Doordarshan. Also, the channel has entered into advertising contracts based on the exclusivity. They are concerned about these issues," sources said.
However, if DD provides a platform and carries the sports channel with its logo and ads, many of these problems could be solved.
The sports broadcaster claims that it has a 30-million subscriber base and is believed to have tied up advertisements worth over Rs 100 crore.
The national broadcaster has ruled out the possibility of a deferred live telecast stating that since All India Radio (AIR) has the live rights, DD could air the matches on a deferred live basis.
Earlier in the day, Ten Sports officials met the Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the broadcast regulator, and put forward their concerns on piracy and contractual agreements.
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