AIR unlikely to get cricket commentary for India-England series

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3 Nov 2010
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NEW DELHI: Cricketing fans who do not have access to television are sorely missing out on the ongoing India-England series as it is not being broadcast live on All India Radio.

Industry sources told that although the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007 makes it mandatory for both Doordarshan and All India Radio to get signals of sporting events that are declared nationally important, the law is clear about only sharing live signals.

Channel 2, the exclusive rights holder of the radio commentary of the match, has refused to share signals with AIR since it claims that it is not broadcasting live signals, the sources said.

However, Prasar Bharati sources confirmed that Channel 2 had offered Rs 13 million to AIR on the condition that they would produce their own commentary and sell advertising rights. But AIR said after conducting an internal assessment that it could itself generate Rs 20 million in revenue from advertising.

Prasar Bharati CEO Rajiv Takru has said that the pubcaster will examine the situation to make sure that this kind of thing does not happen in future.

The tussle has deprived large parts of rural India without access to satellite TV - apart from those on the go in urban areas - from following the much-anticipated series.

However, former India captain Kapil Dev, who is now a director with Channel 2, is understood to have said that AIR's "allegations" were motivated and their attitude unprofessional. Dev added that since AIR had a virtual monopoly, Channel 2 could not sell the rights to anyone else. He also complained that AIR had not been able to take a decision despite being informed more than three months in advance.

A decision for the broadcasts may come in the event of intervention by Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Prasar Bharati sources said.
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