Govt promulgates ordinance on feed sharing

Published: Sunday, February 4, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The coming One-day cricket matches will now be seen live in millions of homes without cable TV across the country with the ordinance on compulsory sports feed to Doordarshan having come into force from today.

Private broadcasters holding telecast rights of important sports events will have to share their signals with public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.

''The President signed the ordinance last night (Feb 2nd),'' a Rashtrapati Spokesperson told UNI.

The Union Cabinet had on Thursday approved the ordinance that makes it obligatory for broadcasters to share live telecast signals of sports events without their advertisements with Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The measure was rushed through after the ongoing India-West Indies cricket series kicked off without the Doordarshan and All India Radio broadcasting the event as telecast rights holder Nimbus Communications refused to share its content with them.

After promulgation of the ordinance, now Nimbus Communications, which holds exclusive rights to broadcast all international matches to be held in India until 2010, has been left with no choice but to share live telecast with Doordarshan.

Briefing reporters after a Cabinet meeting here, Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi had said a Bill will be introduced in Parliament in the coming budget session to replace the ordinance titled as 'The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) Ordinance, 2007.

Nimbus was currently providing signals of the India-West Indies series with seven minutes delay after a court's intervention.

Just a day before the cricket series was to begin on January 21, the talks between Prasar Bharti and Nimbus Sports, the BCCI holder broke down on sharing the live feed.

The offer of Nimbus Sports to give the feed to the Prasar Bharti with 15 minutes delay was not acceptable to the public broadcaster.

Nimbus also did not agree to DD showing the matches on its DTH platform DD Direct Plus.

Nimbus had also said that if it shared the feed, the signals would have to be encrypted so that it reaches houses only on the terrestrial network and not to those who get DD signals through cable TV.

Terming the Nimbus action as lawful and unpatriotic, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi had declared to bring in a law to avoid such situation in future.

Meanwhile, the Ministry had also approached the court on the basis of Downlinking/Uplinking Guidelines issued by it in November 2005.

These guidelines make it compulsory for sports telecast rights holding channels to share the live feed of important sporting events with Doordarshan and AIR by entering into a commercial agreement.

The terms provide for revenue sharing of 75:25 in favour of the rights holders.

The court in an interim order had asked Prasar Bharti to accept Nimbus signals with a delay of seven minutes following which the second ODI between India and West Indies could be seen on DD.

However, Prasar Bharti again challenged this single bench order on which the Delhi High Court has issued notice to Nimbus Communications who own Neo Sports channel, to file their reply to the notice by February nine.


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