Oct. 20: All private TV channels with rights for cricket matches featuring India ' or the semi-finals and finals of international competitions ' must now share the live feed with Prasar Bharti.
The Union cabinet today cleared this proposal despite the International Cricket Council (ICC), in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, threatening withdrawal of telecast rights to Indian channels if Prasar Bharti were given such “preferential treatment”.
The Cabinet decision also applies to sports rights management companies having TV rights for cricket matches.
A small concession has been made in cases where the TV rights were obtained before notification of the new policy: the rights holders will be forced to share the feed of only the finals and not the semi-finals of international events. But the feed for India’s matches must be shared without regard to when the rights were obtained.
Seventy-five per cent of the revenue will go the rights holder while Prasar Bharti will retain 25 per cent.
Earlier, the ICC said it had written “to the Indian Prime Minister' concerning moves to give Indian terrestrial television preferential treatment'.” It did not reveal the content of the letter.
A government source revealed the world body’s threat of withdrawal of TV rights and spelt out the Centre’s stand: “We are not a banana republic. We account for more than 80 per cent of viewership. They can’t threaten us.”
Earlier today, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to award the terrestrial and cable rights for 12 one-day internationals (ODIs) to Doordarshan.
India plays seven ODIs against Sri Lanka from October 25 and five against South Africa from November 16. Prasar Bharti, which manages Doordarshan, will pay Rs 7.5 crore a match. The production will be done by TransWorld International.