Prasar Bharati has initiated its pursuit for a long-term airtime sales partner for the telecast of international cricket matches, the rights of which it had bagged from BCCI in 1999 for a five-year period. The period for the partnership is being sought up to September 2004, that is, till the BCCI deal with Prasar Bharati lasts.
The sifting after the bid would happen on the basis of the amount of revenues that each of the bidders would be able to bring to Prasar Bharati. After that, a revenue sharing ratio would be decided on, between the bidder and Prasar Bharati. It would be only on the 20th of August that the sealed bids would reach the Director (Commercial) of Doordarshan, and it would only be there after that the verdict would be finally reached.
Bids have already been invited once in the past, after Prasar Bharati had bagged the rights for the matches. Amongst bidders like Nimbus, Stracon-TWI, WorldTel, Channel 9 etc., Buddha Telefilms, finally came out as the sales partner for Prasar Bharati. However, the partnership was terminated a while later.
According to a senior spokesperson at Prasar Bharati, "After the commencement of the partnership, Buddha Telefilms were required to make payments at stipulated intervals. Despite being given ample grace time, Buddha Telefilms postponed the payments time and again. Finally, when nothing came through, in the end of 2001, Prasar Bharati gave up on the partnership and en-cashed the Rs.68 crore bank guarantee."
After the bad experience, Buddha Telefilms seems to be out of the picture, as far as the current bidding for airtime sales partnership is concerned. However, Nimbus is very much in the picture, even though Prasar Bharati had been reportedly going through a tough payment problem with Nimbus. Evidently it is WSG Nimbus, a JV between Nimbus and WSG, that would be bidding for the partnership.