Couple of days back, I came up with my immediate views on Govt. policy dictating that specific sports telecasts (read: cricket telecasts) must be shared with Doordarshan. I have decided to track this issue carefully and blog it extensively.
Indiantelevision.com reports that some sports broadcasters are shocked by the news (no doubt they should be). ESPN India managing director RC Venkateish says "It’s a retrograde step that could have been done without". However Zee Telefilms senior vice-president Ashish Kaul says "We have been always open to sharing feed with DD and welcome this step taken by the government". Other key players (SET, Ten) have not commented anything in public yet.
Prasar Bharati CEO K.S.Sarma says Government decision does not give unfair advantage to his channel. His contention is that "... both the private broadcasters, ESPN and Zee Sports, had agreed to share the feed with us. So how can one say that the rights are being devalued?" Sarma must be thick... Earlier both channels had agreed to share the feed, but on their own terms. Now, the Govt. is legislating that the feed must be shared (that is you have no choice) and it should be done without putting up any pre-condition, fixed fee etc. and at 75:25 sharing ratio - that is, even the financials are legislated! Further, who markets the airtime will be "mutually decided", we are told! With the right owner's hands to twisted, Prasar Bharati will demand that they will do the marketing. Or at least, they can meddle in the marketing to their heart's content, as they have nothing to lose in the process.
Indiantelevision.com opines that the cabinet recommendation will be legally contested, as I had indicated.
Let us watch the story unfold...