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.


Anonymous said...

ya you are right. it is hard to share the signal with DD for neo sports when they bought it for a huge amount but it is a true fact that more than 5 million people doesn't know this name at all!!!! . at least they must have the curtosy to share the signal with AIR. so it was their part to ask for the shares of the signal. if this condition continues for neo sports there is no doubt that DD asks for the share for next series too.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree that DD have no rights when Nimbus has bought it. But I guess the confusion arises from the fact that the President of the BCCI, Sharad Pawar, is a union minister. Govt has a control over Doradarshan, they have a I&B minister, which is also in the "business" of broadcasting blockbuster game shows. (Heck, government of India itself was in the business of running sports events like Nehru Cup to celebrate the PM's grand fathers birthdays.) So Govt thinks the game of cricket should be in DD and under its control. Now why a union minister is allowed to manage such a large "sports corporation" while in power is a total constitutional flaw and a topic for another day. Also why DD should be in Indian govt. control should be a topic for another day too. Bottom line, neither Indians nor India government have shed their socialist myths, while living capitalist life in the largest capitalist country in the world (by population after China if you think China is still a communist.. which is another joke). It should start from the top by shedding the old socialist adjectives to the Indian constitution and call it "Democratic Capitalist Union of India". Then all these confusions will disappear and people will realise "you got to pay to view it".

Mohan said...

anon1: More than 5 million may not know the name of Nimbus now, but that is the reason why they have paid such a huge price for the rights - by telecasting the matches exclusively they will increase their subscription.

anon2: Very nicely said. However, I don't think the confusion is only because of Pawar being BCCI president. Same fight used to happen even Dalmiya used to be the president. As for why a union minister is allowed to be in that position, remember it is an "honorary" position, so he is not getting paid for it. If Dick Cheney can be on the boards of various companies, why not Pawar?

Anonymous said...

Agreed it is not just because of Pawar being minister, but as I said, Dooradarshan being the only broad caster for a long time, was used to getting the lion share of cricket braodcasting. BCCI also used Dooradarshan to promote its business when no one else was allowed to braodcast in India. BCCI has moved onto capitalist 2000's, but DD is still in its HumLog days, of being the big brother having helped its younger now successful brother to stick with him in business. Like "woh tera bada bhai hai beta, bachpan me jab tera bap mar gaya tha, woh apna roti thumhe deke, kud bhooka rah tha tha...". Does any one care for that drama anymore in India?

Reg Cheney comparison.. here we go again... If an american does something.. it should be right for India too. If Indians want to create their own identity they should stop copying and espcially comparing to US when on defence. There are millions of other things you can compare to US and fail miserably. Why take the escape route of comparing wrong things, where there is nothing right about it? If it is wrong for Sharad Pawar to be a minister and running BCCI, lets discuss that point and not bring in Dick "corrupt" Cheney into it to make it right.

Anonymous said...

Another note on Cheney... Cheney has resigned from his CEO post in July 2000, after his decission as a running mate to GW. The controversy surrounding that, is regarding the deffered payments from his stock options and bonus plans from Haliburton in 2001 and 2002 while he was in the White house, for his services when he was the CEO. Not that he held any post in any private company while he was the VP.

Regarding the BCCI Preseident being honarary, and not being paid for it.. Well there wont such power struggle if it were truly that, will it? Several powerful politicians and ministers have held that post, Pawar, NKP Salve etc. Must be a hard to be "honarary" in such a rich corporation. Wonder how they survive?

Mohan said...

anon: fair point on comparing with US. You got me there. No, it is not truly honorary, that's why I put it in quotes. But since it is an honorary position in theory and Pawar is not getting paid for it, there is no rule to stop him from occupying that position.