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May 2018


Cricket Fans Let Down By Doordarshan, No Live IPL Matches


The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007; in a 2012 notification; requires all private broadcasters to share live broadcasting signals of sporting events of "national importance" with Prasar Bharati simultaneously, to enable the public broadcaster to re-transmit them on its terrestrial networks and FreeDish DTH platform.

This law provides all Indians, access to key sports events, without having to pay a ransom to Pay channels, to view the content. The law provided relief to millions of cricket-loving Indians.


Star India challenged this law, and the Supreme Court ruled that Star must share these signals with Prasar Bharti for retransmission via terrestrial DD and FreeDish.

However, the apex court ruled that Cable TV networks & DTH platforms are not permitted to retransmit these signals.


Star India had been dragging its feet to share its IPL- 2018 feed, with Doordarshan.

Unconfirmed rumours are that the negotiations were fierce and bitter, with an unrelenting Star India.

Some observers point out that it is more than a coincidence that the I&B ministry issued the temporary uplinking license for the cricket matches barely 24 hours before commencement of IPL-2018. Speculation is that the PMO's office intervened to resolve the stall talks between the ministry and Star India.


Star India staunchly refused to share its feed live with Doordarshan. This seemed a direct contravention of the mandatory Sharing of sporting events of national importance, with Doordarshan.


According to Star India, "IPL is club cricket. While it is popular, it cannot be categorized as an event of national importance. Hence, it was left entirely to the free will of Star India. They (government officials) wanted all the matches to be shared, which we thought was excessive," a senior Star India executive was reported to have told the press, on the condition of anonymity. "We understand that while the public broadcaster has a role to play, IPL rights are very expensive, and sharing it indiscriminately on the Prasar Bharati platform will destroy the value completely," he added.

IPL Is Only A Club Event - Not Sport Event Of National Importance

Star India finally agreed to share the cricket feed on Doordarshan, after a 60-minute delay.

Most observers feel that an hour delayed telecast holds zero value for cricket fans, since the news and scores will be in the public domain by then.


Star India had also refused to let DD retain 50% of the Ad revenues generated from DD's channels airing the matches.

However, Star India finally relented, in what was probably a face- saving gesture for Prasar Bharti.

"As per the Prasar Bharati Act, the public broadcaster would have received only about a fourth of the total revenue. However, there was a feeling that Prasar Bharati was being short changed, given its huge infrastructure costs, and very extensive reach, particularly in rural India, thereby the need for a greater share of ad revenues generated from the DD channel," according to a press report.

Only Few Matches Shared, That Too With 1 Hour Delay

It remains to be seen if the DD channel will be able to book any significant ads during the 1 hour delayed telecasts, since the deal with Star was struck just a day before IPL- 2018 commenced.


According to the final settlement hammered out by Star, Doordarshan received only the following telecasts:

 All DD telecast Delayed By 1 Hour

 DD receives:

 The Opening match

 The last 4 Matches

 The 8 pm Sunday match every week


Star was also quick to point out that the IPL Match sharing was a goodwill gesture.

According to one press report, Star India officials said that while their company had reached an agreement, it should be seen as "Supportive to the public broadcaster, and not borne out of any legal mandate on the private broadcaster, nor can it be treated as precedence."

That voices Star India's belligerent mindset, and unwillingness to share its live IPL feed.

It remains to be seen if the BCCI matches (for which Star has just bagged 5-year rights) will also be held back from being telecast live on Doordarshan?



In August 2017, the Supreme Court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi & Justice Navin Sinha ruled that the live feed received by Prasar Bharati) for sporting events of national importance) is only for the purpose of retransmission on its own terrestrial and DTH network and not to private cable operators.

On 12 April 2018, the MIB issued a Notice directing all MSOs & LCOs to blank out the DD Sports channel on their networks. Further, on the blank screen, they are to display a caption "The match/game can be viewed in free-to-air mode on DD Sports Channel, on DD Free Dish and DD's terrestrial network" in appropriate colour, font and size. The message must be displayed from the point of start of live broadcast to the end of live broadcast related to the sports event on the MSO/ Cable Platform.

The DD Sports channel cannot be retransmitted on Cable TV networks while the channel is carrying IPL-2018 content.