Friday, March 05, 2010

Who has the right to broadcast cricket news?

The Indian Premier League can’t seem to keep itself free of controversies. If it isn’t the Australians, it’s the Pakistanis and political parties. Just when matters died down, Indian news channels have drawn swords against IPL’s India broadcaster: Setmax.

Last week the News Broadcast Association (NBA), representing 34 news channels across the nation, decided to boycott the coverage of the third season of IPL that starts soon, due to its restrictive coverage guidelines.

Opposing the newly proposed guidelines for IPL coverage issued by IPL and Setmax, the NBA stated that IPL/Setmax have arbitrarily refused to abide by their commitment as contained in the 2008 norms drafted jointly by both parties.

“In view of this position unilaterally taken by IPL/Setmax, members of the NBA are unable to offer their viewers any coverage in relation to IPL or its proposed matches,” said their official release.

Setmax is pained by the rampant usage of cricket clippings aired on news channels and sometimes, dedicated cricket programmes using their footage and allegedly robbing them of their channel audience.

The official Highlights are often given a miss. Add to it the fact that news channels tend to get sponsors for their special cricket shows, thus making revenues that the official broadcaster lost out on.
And this gets Setmax’s goat.

Back of the envelop calculations show that Setmax stands to lose Rs. 10 crore throughout the event. Hence it believes that since it has legal rights to the footage, it has the prerogative to set the rules of
the game.

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