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Indo-Pak cricket ties: DD gets just highlights

13-February-2004
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Indo-Pak cricket ties: DD gets just highlights

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati only has highlights in its kitty, even as it had gone all out to grab the terrestrial rights (live or deferred) to the India-Pakistan cricket series. Satellite TV rights holder to the series, Dubai-based Ten Sports, has reiterated its stand that it would not allow anything more than highlights. According to Ten Sports vice-president Peter Hutton, who met Prasar Bharati chief executive officer KS Sarma here on Thursday, hour-long highlights would be given to Doordarshan on the match-days. The DD spokesperson, however, insisted that talks on TV rights are still on. According to industry sources, Ten Sports paid $42 million to buy TV rights for five years. Add to that a production cost of around $15 million.

Interestingly, for radio rights also, Prasar Bharati had to come to the negotiating table with Ten Sports. Ten Sports, which recently acquired the worldwide radio rights, has agreed to sell the exclusive India rights to All India Radio. An AIR team was in Islamabad recently to bid for radio rights, but failed to acquire the same. Although Mr Hutton refused to give out the figures, sources said AIR had bid $25,000 for the rights in India, against Ten Sports’ $150,000 for global radio rights. It is learnt that AIR would pay around the same as its bid amount to Ten Sports.

The deal amount for the match highlights to DD was not revealed. But, Ten Sports is understood to have told the public broadcaster that offering terrestrial rights to DD was not possible. It’s tough to go back on the advertising deals that Ten Sports has already struck, Mr Hutton is learnt to have told Mr Sarma.

The uncertainty surrounding the India-Pakistan cricket series not withstanding, satellite TV rights holder Ten Sports came to the negotiating table with state broadcaster Prasar Bharati on Thursday.

Of late, Prasar Bharati was negotiating for the terrestrial rights, through the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and even suspended officials of the board, but not directly with Ten Sports. Even as Ten Sports had offered to give highlights of the series to Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati demanded deferred telecast rights to the full matches. Surprisingly, a couple of days ago, Mr Sarma even said that Prasar Bharati was in talks with PCB to get live terrestrial rights to the series.

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