The initial agreement DD had entered into with Nimbus (the revenue
management company for World Cup telecasts over DD) covered the
live telecast of 16 'Big Gun' matches as well as 43 daily one hour
Highlights on DD national. According to an announcement made to
indiantelevision.com, Nimbus had stated that it had entered a new
deal with DD covering the telecast of a total of 43 matches, including
the 'Big Gun' matches, on DD Metro. All matches on DD Metro will
be telecast on a delayed basis starting 9:30 am on every day of
the Cricket World Cup, which lasts 43 days, the announcement said.
If this is true what it means is that in addition to the rights
for the live telecast of 16 matches, DD had secured the rights for
delayed telecast of an additional 27 games.
Dasgupta said that if DD went ahead with the plan as had been announced
then Sony would sue.
When contacted for a response to the assertions that Dasgupta had
made, Thawani said he had no comment to make.
Keeping aside the merits or otherwise of the stances taken by the
opposing players in the thrust and parry skirmishing that is going
on, the stakes in this game are huge. After ambush marketing add
another word to the lexicon - ambush programming. Whatever may be
Dasgupta's assertions, if ESS manages to pull this one off it would
definitely be a major coup for India's leading C&S sports broadcast
network. Through this ESS would continue to remain in the mindspace
of cricketing audiences without having had to shell out a dime for
According to Dasgupta, the move by ESS was legally untenable as
the sports broadcasting network was a GCC affiliate. This would
by extension mean that the rights holder GCC, after having sold
the C&S telecast rights to Sony (for $ 255 million) was now actively
working to scupper Sony's commercial interests, Dasgupta said. ESS
is a GCC affiliate by virtue of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp being
a 50 per cent stake-holder in the ESPN Star Sports joint venture.
News Corp has the controlling stake in GCC.
DD sources, meanwhile, while admitting that no deal had been inked
as yet with ESS, said discussions were on. At the time of uploading
this report, indiantelevision was unable to get an official response
from ESPN Software India MD Manu Sawhney on the matter as he was
not in Delhi.
Sources in DD further confirmed that director-general DD SY Quraishi
had been in Mumbai today and had had discussions with Thawani regarding
the issue of delayed telecast of matches on DD Metro. The DD sources
confirmed Quraishi was in Mumbai to finalise the scheduling of the
matches to be aired on DD Metro.
Prasar Bharati officials that indiantelevision.com spoke to appeared
quite confident that they were on firm legal ground in the matter.
According to the officials, the arrangement DD and Nimbus were entering
into covered an area that the original contract (that Sony signed
on to) had not envisaged. "Moreover, if it is going to be a
delayed telecast, why should Sony get so upset," they ask.
See related reports:
ups ante on cricket coverage
sells World Cup cricket presenting sponsorship rights