Media Rights: DD not to bid for cricket rights, to continue relying on existing policy

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Doordarshan has no plans to acquire media and broadcast rights for cricket content – Test series, limited overs internationals or the ICC World Cup next year. The national broadcaster will instead continue with the existing policy of beaming shared signals it gets under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007.

The act makes it mandatory for the media rights holders of the cricket matches and other international sports to share the feed with the national broadcaster – Prasar Bharati /Doordarshan.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who also holds the sports portfolio, has told the Parliament that the Prasar Bharati / Doordarshan have no plan to bid to acquire the rights of cricket Test series or the ICC World Cup 2019. The Doordarshan will continue to rely on existing laws to air live and shared signals of relevant international cricket matches, for which the rights have been acquired by private sector broadcasters in India.

The Minister also informed the Parliament that “live telecast of cricket matches” is aired on Doordarshan Sports channel under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, which was passed by the Parliament and notified the same year. These matches included three T20, three One-Day Internationals from India’s present tour of England.

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But Doordarshan is not taking the shared feed for the ongoing five-Test series from the official and exclusive broadcaster in India – Sony Pictures Network Limited. The Minister did not tell the House as to why it did not insist on shared TV feeds of five-day Test matches.

“The Act enjoins upon the rights holder to share with Prasar Bharati, live broadcasting signals of sports events of national importance for which they hold broadcast rights to enable Prasar Bharati to re-transmit the same on its terrestrial and DTH networks,” Rathore explained.

“Doordarshan has undertaken a comprehensive plan to improve the programme content, and look and feel of all national and regional channels in DD network,” the Minister told the Parliaments and added that efforts were being made to empanel creative agencies that can work for better look and feel of the channel(s).