The ongoing India-Sri Lanka one-day cricket series rights have been sold to Prasar Bharati by BCCI. This is a stop gap measure. Since the full 5-year rights have not been sold by BCCI, it has been selling series by series rights ad-hoc to Prasar Bharati. The 5-year rights is highly embroiled in controversy involving ESPN-Star Sports and Zee.
Cricket in India is a major seller. Everyone knows it. The news channels in particular. The news channels have been picking up the dirty feed (the TV feed with all its logos, bugs, advertisements in toto) in an unauthorised manner and build a packaged program around it. Sometimes it is extended highlights, showing almost every wicket and fours and sixes. The program is anchored by some ex-cricketer, a few viewers call in, some statistical analysis done and voila, there is content for 30 minutes to one hour.
However this is in violation of all normal rules. News channels are normally given a maximum of two minutes of footage. In most cases, the host broadcaster puts this package together from the clean feed and makes this available to the news channels. However, in India, picking the dirty feed off the satellite is par for the course. No money to be paid to anyone. Just "Courtesy: Doordarshan or ESPN or Ten Sports or whatever."
Finally Doordarshan has woken up to the fact that this unauthorised stealing has been going on and have approached the Delhi High Court to restrain the channels from stealing the feed. Televisionpoint.com reports that Sahara has picked as much as 77 minutes of the first one-day International, Asianet 45 min, Eenadu TV 21 min, India TV 16 min and TV 9 16 min.
Prasar Bharati is also planning to bill these channels for unauthorised usage.
I support Prasar Bharati.
However as the Government has decided that it will force the private channels to share their feed with Prasar Bharati on a revenue sharing basis, why not let every channel pull the dirty feed from Doordarshan and build innovative programs on top and merely ask Prasar Bharati to work out revenue shares with these channels?
That will be even better? Especially as non-Hindi, non-English audience will get to watch the dirty DD feed with local presenters having fun in their local languages?