Monday, January 22, 2007

Telecast rights imbroglio

They are at it again. Doordarshan is once again fighting with the cricket rights holder, Nimbus in this case, for something that they don't own rightfully. Nimbus bid for those rights and have paid a hefty price. I don't understand what makes DD think that they have some god-given rights to the signals of cricket matches. If Sony gets exclusive rights to telecast some Bollywood blockbuster would DD similarly ask Sony to share the feed with them? They don't. But somehow neither DD nor the government seem to get this simple concept of "he paid for it, he owns it" when it comes to cricket rights. The I&B minister has called Nimbus "unpatriotic" for not sharing the signal with DD. Come again? Onstensibly, the objective is to make the matches available for those who do not have cable connection. But then, what about those who don't have a TV set itself? Would the minister ask LG or Samsung to distribute TV sets for free to all those who don't own one and call them unpatriotic if they refuse to comply with such a ridiculous request? It is no less ridiculous to ask Nimbus to part with something they have purchased legally.

In any case, what has cheering for a bunch of cola salesmen got to do with patriotism anyway? It is high time we put an end to this myth that the players are "representing the country" and supporting them is a patriotic activity. It is just entertainment business, folks. No different from movies, music or other television shows. The players make money, boards and sponsors make money and hopefully the viewers get some entertainment. Let's leave it at that, rather than attaching non-existent attributes like nationalism, patriotism etc.