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Zee DTH viewers get cricket, anyway

07-October-2004
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Zee DTH viewers get cricket, anyway

Although ASC Enterprises, promoted by Zee group chairman Subhash Chandra, switched off Doordarshan channels on its direct-to-home (DTH) platform on Wednesday, India-Australia cricket is still available to Dish TV subscribers. Dish TV, which was launched last year, is the DTH platform of ASC Enterprises. According to a company official, Dish TV subscribers are getting to watch the current cricket series on DD’s DTH. Reason: Both Dish TV and DD’s DTH are operating on the same satellite—NSS-6. Incidentally, DD DTH is yet to be launched formally.

The public broadcaster had earlier threatened to black out DD, which holds the exclusive telecast rights to the India-Australia and India-South Africa series, on Dish TV, citing Indian cricket board’s copyright norms.

But, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma told FE: “Dish TV switched off DD1 and DD Sports at our request.”

The pubcaster is aware that Dish TV subscribers are watching the ongoing cricket match on DD’s DTH. “My subscribers can access DD DTH by tuning the remote control of Dish TV,” according to an ASC official. To that, Prasar Bharati’s Mr Sarma said: “Yes, of course. We are on the same satellite.” Mr Sarma didn’t see any legal hassle in the issue.

Interestingly, while Dish TV subscribers can access DD DTH using the same dish and set-top box, the reverse is not possible. DD DTH subscribers cannot access Dish TV because of decoders used, a Zee official explained. “While Dish TV is a pay platform, DD DTH is free-to-air,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prasar Bharati officials remained tight-lipped about the ad revenues earned for the series. Mr Sarma said: “I don’t want to reveal the figure yet. It’s too early in the day.” It is learnt that response to the series has been good from advertisers, and that three-fourth of the bookings have been done by day one itself. Traditionally, Test matches are not very popular with advertisers, as against one-day international. In fact, the ad bookings for the friendly ODI between India and Pakistan have already been closed, a Prasar Bharati official said.

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