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Nimbus-DD talks on match telecast fail

The public broadcaster points fingers at the Indian Cricket Board for giving terrestrial rights to Nimbus, reports Chetan Chauhan.
None | By Chetan Chauhan, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2007 02:27 AM IST

Even as the deadlock between Prasar Bharati (PB) and Nimbus over sharing of feed of the India-West Indies series continued, the public broadcaster pointed fingers at the Indian Cricket Board for giving terrestrial rights to Nimbus.

While replying to a question whether the BCCI had overstepped its mandate by giving rights for terrestrial broadcast, BS Lalli, CEO of Prasar Bharati, replied that Doordarshan is the sole owner of terrestrial coverage as there is no other competitor. "There should have been a pre-bid arrangement with DD for terrestrial coverage," he said.

Another round of talks between the PB and Nimbus failed on Monday and the issue is now with the Delhi High Court. There was no concrete outcome after a half-hour meeting. Prasar Bharati officials said that Nimbus, represented by its president Digvijay Singh, challenged them to take the signal from the stadium.

Nimbus had already said that deal between them and BCCI was a commercial deal and DD wanted to make money out of it. Both parties refused to budge from their earlier stand.

Before the meeting, CEO of Prasar Bharati told reporters that any discussions with Nimbus would be within the framework of downlinking guidelines of the government. He also ruled out the possibility of encrypting the signal saying it was not technologically possible.

"We will have to blank our flagship channel DD 1 for encrypting the signal and that is just not possible," Lalli said. He suggested the way out was adhering to the February 2006 agreement of Nimbus with Prasar Bharati.

Prasar Bharati had earlier filed caveats in the Delhi and Mumbai High Courts and the Supreme Court against any injunction against it following a petition by Nimbus.

The Delhi High Court will hear the Nimbus petition with regard to the series on Tuesday. PTI quoted I&B Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi as announcing that government will soon bring in a legislation in Parliament next month, making it mandatory for private broadcasters to share feed with Doordarshan for major sporting events played in the country.

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