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Ten Sports plays ball<br>Agreement with DD on cricket feed expected today

12-March-2004
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Ten Sports plays ball<br>Agreement with DD on cricket feed expected today

A day after the government threatened to come out with an Ordinance making it mandatory for Ten Sports to grant terrestrial rights of the India-Pakistan cricket series to Prasar Bharati, the two parties today came to the negotiating table to find a solution to the dispute.

Though disagreements and concerns remain, Ten Sports and Prasar Bharati today discussed the commercial and technical terms of sharing the telecast feed for the series. According to government sources, a final agreement is expected tomorrow after the Prasar Bharati board meeting in Mumbai.

Sources close to the talks also said Prasar Bharati had proposed to pay about $8 million for the terrestrial rights of the matches, while Ten Sports was demanding about $20 million.

The government proposed a solution wherein Prasar Bharati would provide its platform to Ten Sports to telecast the matches live on Doordarshan. In this arrangement, Ten Sports will also have the mandate to market the series and keep the advertisement revenue, while paying a carriage fee to Prasar Bharati.

“Doordarshan will just provide the platform and Ten Sports will market the event. This will give the channel a wider reach,” said a source.

According to the sources, Ten Sports pointed out that in such an arrangement, there was a possibility of piracy of signals by cable operators and possible loss of advertisement revenue. A deferred telecast of matches was proposed by Ten Sports, which was rejected by the state-owned broadcaster.

“We are not interested in a deferred broadcast of the matches,” said K S Sarma, chief executive, Prasar Bharati.

Ten Sports representatives told the government during the meetings that it could face a huge loss of subscription revenue in such a case.

The government has directed both the broadcasters to work out a way to prevent stealing of signals in case Doordarshan telecasts the matches on its terrestrial network.

During the negotiations, it was also proposed that while Ten Sports would have the satellite rights for the series, Doordarshan would show the matches in the non-metro areas.

Ten Sports representatives also met Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman Pradip Baijal and expressed their reservations about sharing the live feed of the series with Prasar Bharati.

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