The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Match on DD, jury out on cash

Oct. 5: Decks have been cleared for the Bangalore Test to be beamed live on Doordarshan but opinion is divided whether the public broadcaster will be able to translate the windfall into hard cash.

In an interim order, the Supreme Court today allowed Doordarshan to telecast the Australia and South Africa Test series and the one-day international against Pakistan.

But Prasar Bharati, Set Satellite (Singapore) Pvt Ltd (through whose satellite DD will telecast matches) and BCCI have been asked to maintain revenue accounts so that the money can be distributed in keeping with the outcome of the main case filed by Zee Telefilms.

DD has bagged the domestic rights for Rs 100 crore. Analysts said that though the piecemeal deal looks lucrative, the fact that Tests command lesser advertiser interest than ODIs should be factored in.

'It's certainly a good deal since unlike other commercial channels, there is no revenue pressure on the national broadcaster which is paying with the taxpayer's money,' said a channel official. 'Also it's less than half of what 31 days of cricket would cost according to Zee's offer of Rs 1,400 crore for 144 days.'

'But one must keep in mind that these are Test series which will not have TRP ratings even close to ODIs,' a media analyst pointed out.

Recovering Rs 100 crore will be a difficult task, feel most analysts. 'DD does not have revenues from subscription and has to depend solely on advertisement sales,' said Nitin Jain, head of media buying agency Mindshare. At the most, DD will be able to manage Rs 75-80 crore, he said.

'Revenues will also be affected by India's performance,' another analyst said. 'If India is washed out in the first two Tests, interest will wane.'

DD, however, is claiming it has mopped up advertisement revenue of Rs 80 crore in two days. Prasar is asking for around Rs 6 crore from 'presenting' sponsors (Tests will have three) and Rs 4 crore from 'associate' sponsors (five) for airing commercials on the national network and DD Sports, including live action and highlights. For the Pakistan ODI, it is seeking Rs 50 lakh and Rs 35 lakh respectively.


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