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Friday, Aug 13, 2004

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DD to bid for BCCI rights — Ties up for ICC Trophy, World Cup telecast

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Aug. 12

THE Prasar Bharati board has decided to go alone and will bid independently for the BCCI rights. The national broadcaster will submit a competitive bid in the next two days.

The board has already set up an empowered committee to look into the issue. The option of jointly bidding with ESPN is also being considered and a decision will be taken shortly.

Along with this, DD has also been able to tie up for telecast rights for the forthcoming ICC Championship matches and the next World Cup to be held in West Indies.

Speaking to newspersons Mr K.S. Sarma, CEO, Prasar Bharati, said, "We have entered into a revenue share agreement with WSG Nimbus which has the rights to these events.

The national broadcaster has not spent any money to acquire these rights." Besides TV, Prasar Bharati has also acquired the radio rights to these tournaments.

The satellite rights to these tournaments are with Sony Entertainment Television (SET). DD has also managed to get the rights to the forthcoming Holland Cup. The Prasar Bharati board has also requested the Government to come up with a regulation that will ensure the public broadcaster access to such rights on a non-competitive process.

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has already considered draft guidelines for downlinking of channels.

"This is more in the nature of registration and not licensing," said Mr Vijay Singh, Additional Secretary, I&B Ministry.

The broadcaster's direct-to-home (DTH) venture is expected to take off by the end of this month.

It will distribute 15,000 set-top boxes (STBs) in eight States where television is not covered.

The platform will have 40 channels including channels from the Zee, Sun and Star stable.

Meanwhile, for this year, Prasar Bharati expects to generate Rs 790 crore as revenues, of which AIR is expected to garner Rs 190 crore.

The national broadcaster is also looking at increasing its workforce in the near future.

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