Even as the public broadcaster, Doordarshan, claims that it’s going live with the forthcoming Asian Games in Busan (South Korea), there’s a question mark on what the Indian audience would actually get to see of the Games. Television viewers of the country may not be able to catch some of the India-relevant sporting action during the Asian Games beginning September 29. Interestingly, with less than a week to go for the Games to begin, there have been no ad bookings on DD for the Games so far.
DD National and DD Sports are scheduled to show live as well as recorded events of the Asian Games. But, there’s a catch: DD will have at its disposal only one transmission line from Busan.
Singular transmission line implies that DD will be able to catch fewer events than when the number of lines are more. That is, with a single line, there’s a strong possibility that Indian viewers may miss out on some India-relevant events.
With just one line available to DD for the Asian Games, the chance of showing India-relevant events will shrink further. In all, there would be 38 events, out of which India will participate in 23 disciplines. At any given point, there would be 10 to 15 events, making it tough for DD to offer India-relevant events through just one transmission line.
As DD will hardly have any control over what feed it is receiving from Busan, it may lead to blacking out of some medal-winning events. Although the public broadcaster is sending a contingent to Busan, it is not shooting the Games. It will be the discretion of Dentsu, the host broadcaster for the Asian Games in Busan (Korea), to make a decision on what feed should be available to the member countries of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) including India, at a fee.
According to sources, DD’s settled for a single transmission line for cost-effectiveness. With multiple lines, technical fee for DD would have been much higher, DD officials admit. The public broadcaster has paid Rs 5 crore as fee for broadcasting rights and technical inputs. Although the owner of the event (Asian Games) is Olympic Council of Asia, the telecast deal with DD has been struck through ABU.
This is in the backdrop of plenty of controversy regarding the high broadcasting fee for the Busan Asian Games. Among others, Malaysia is not likely to do any live telecast of the Games for what it calls ‘‘steep fees’’. From $380,000 last time (Bangkok Asian Games), the broadcasting fee has risen to $500,000 now.