Calcutta, keeping its fingers crossed about catching Sourav Ganguly ‘live’ on Wednesday from Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, can breathe easy, but only just.
Chances of watching the comeback man in action brightened on Monday, with all players in the cable beam game forced to come to the talks table following the Nagpur 98 fiasco on Neo Sports.
Industry insiders said late on Monday that a marathon meeting involving Nimbus (broadcaster), STAR (distributor) and city-based multi-system operators (MSOs) had “cleared most hurdles” on the road to live telecast of the India vs West Indies one-dayer.
“The subscribers may have to pay an additional amount this month to watch the matches. If Nimbus slashes the bouquet price further, it will not burden the viewer; we are still working on that,” said SitiCable director Suresh Sethia. SitiCable, along with Indian Cablenet, feeds around eight lakh cable homes in Calcutta.
The meeting was punctuated by news that Delhi High Court had asked Nimbus to accept the Trai-fixed bouquet price of Rs 37.25 for Neo Sports and Neo Sports Plus, a climbdown from the broadcaster’s demand for Rs 58.50.
“In CAS areas, the rate is Rs 5 per channel. That should be the uniform rate everywhere,” argued a cable industry veteran, when asked what the “ideal” price for Neo Sports would be.
Amidst all the confusion, subscribers under Kolkata Cable and Broadband Pariseba Ltd and Cablecomm — adding up to around four lakh cable homes — were assured that they would watch Sourav’s next innings, ‘live’.
Mrinal Chatterjee, of Kolkata Cable, said: “We have taken the decision for the benefit of our viewers. We will request our subscribers to pay the additional amount of Rs 11.50 for this month, but even if they refuse, they will be able to watch Dada bat.”
Meanwhile, DTH service providers Tata Sky and Dish TV are also in talks with Nimbus to add Neo Sports to their bouquet.
“The channels should soon be available on DTH,” said a Nimbus official.