Public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) has shared the upbeat mood of Team India. While Sourav and his boys celebrated the win in the first one-dayer with Pakistan in Karachi on Saturday, DD was also rejoicing. For, it just made the best of its one-day opportunity.
Exclusive telecast rights holder to this historic series, Ten Sports of Dubai, had submitted before the Supreme Court on Friday that it would allow DD and other Indian cable networks to beam the Karachi match for free.
Ten Sports counsel Kapil Sibal termed it a “friendly gesture from the channel”. But, the court and Ten Sports made it clear that the offer was just for a day. The apex court is expected to decide on Monday on whether DD would be allowed to show the matches or not. So, on Saturday, DD was all out making a killing, not bothering about a tomorrow.
According to sources, DD earned a neat Rs 8-9 crore in just a day from ads. “Ads were on standby,” say the sources. If it got to beam all the matches of the ongoing Indo-Pak series, DD aims to make a clean sweep of Rs 100 crore. But, whether it can get anywhere close to a windfall or not will depend on Monday’s SC verdict.
Industry insiders, who are tracking the development, argue that DD’s “public interest has suddenly changed into commercial interests”.
Ten Sports officials were not available for comments, as the issue is “sub-judice”.
Earlier, both the Bombay and Madras high courts had directed Ten Sports to permit DD to telecast the series with Ten Sports logo. But, for the first 16 overs or so, the DD screen didn’t have the Ten Sports logo. While Prasar Bharati official said, “there was a gap in interpreting the judicial observations and therefore the Ten Sports’ logo was missing”, those on the other side of the fence were screaming “copyright violations”.
On Friday, the Dubai-based channel had challenged the orders of the high courts on telecast in the SC through a special leave petition.
Prasar Bharti is expected to take the post-win feel-good factor into the court room on Monday, when the case comes up for hearing. Its plea would be based on “public interest”, according to CEO KS Sarma. He may meet attorney general Soli G Sorabjee and Solicitor General Kirit Raval — Prasar Bharati’s counsel — on Sunday.
Meanwhile, DD was not the only channel, other than Ten Sports, beaming the match in the country. Satellite rights holder in the West Asian and Pakistan region, ARY Digital, was also available across homes. Coming to the rights holder in India, the Ten Sports screen was flashing a message, which was hard to miss. “Please ask your cable operator to sign up for the next ODI on March 16.” The message was clear: If your cable guy doesn’t sign the annual contract with Ten Sports, the next match on the channel may be blacked out!