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This is how IPL is being Used by Government to get big amount for Prasar Bharti

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most-attended cricket league in the world and in 2014 ranked sixth by average attendance among all sports leagues. According to BCCI, the 2015 IPL season contributed ₹11.5 billion (US$182 million) to the GDP of the Indian economy.

And now Modi Government is using this brand IPL to get big bucks for Prasar Bharti. As per the negotiations between Star India and Prasar Bharti – For the 1st time in the history, IPL will now be broadcasted on DD as well.

Smriti Irani-led Information and Broadcasting ministry has taken a great move by getting these rights for Public Broadcaster Prasar Bharti. The move will mean that Star India, the official broadcaster of IPL, will have to share the live feed of the tournament with Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals Act, 2007.

The revenue from advertising between Prasar Bharati and Star India, which was a major bone of contention between the two parties, will now be shared equally(50-50), resulting in a big win for the public broadcaster. Star India had demanded a 75-25 revenue split in its favour.

This will not only benefit public broadcaster monetarily but will also take IPL to the homes of larger populace of India which rely on DD for entertainment. The Information and Broadcasting ministry had mooted the proposal to make IPL available on the public broadcaster in December. The I&B ministry had then asked the Sports Ministry to weigh in on the matter.

Public broadcaster has largest reach in the country & IPL broadcasting on DD means more people have access to cricketing entertainment. A big win for Prasar Bharati as it will get major revenue boost as well as greater viewership.

Star India, in September, won the broadcast rights for the IPL for the next five years for a sum of Rs 16,347.50 crore. Until 2017, Sony Pictures Networks had held the television broadcasting rights of IPL for 10 years (since 2008).

“Prasar Bharati’s strategy, which has been supported by the Smriti Irani-led Information and Broadcasting ministry, was driven by a need to move from regulatory-led negotiation, to a more business-driven one, designed to ensure that the government gets a better deal,” a source said.

Star India had also demanded for DD free dish users not be included as part of the target audience and wanted to restrict the telecast to just certain events – including the IPL 2018 inaugural ceremony, the playoffs along with a few others, which the autonomous body, has not agreed with till now.

Additionally, as part of its negotiations with Prasar Bharati, Star India had also demanded a one-hour delay in telecast of the IPL matches on all Doordarshan (DD) channels.

The delay in the telecast of IPL matches was initially unacceptable to the public broadcaster, but given its huge win in receiving a greater share of the total revenue expected to be generated, it has acceded to Star India’s demand.

“Today, live telecast is all that matters, especially when you are getting everything on mobile as and when it happens. But given the revenues that we expect to earn, this is manageable,” an official said.

Separately, as part of the agreement between the two parties, Star India has also agreed to Doordarshan to show the inauguration ceremony, the playoffs, a match on every Sunday during the duration of the tournament, and the closing ceremony.

However, it is yet unclear if the private broadcaster’s demand for excluding DD’s free dish users from the target audience. DD’s direct-to-home platform has an estimated 2 crore subscribers.

Star had earlier contended that cable TV operators were getting live feeds through DD channels free of cost, resulting in loss of revenue for them. A senior official in the government said for cash- and content-starved DD, this would be a great deal. Recently, the government had refused to waive off its spectrum charges of over 1200 crores, which is also seen as one of the reasons why it is insisting of getting a better deal from Star this time.

(With Inputs from The Economic Times)

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