Friday, 14 October 2011

India v England 1st ODI: Picture blackout due to delay in payment by broadcaster

London: Oct 14, 2011

A tussle between NEO Sports Broadcast Pvt Ltd and Prasar Bharati over bank guarantee for the live telecast of the India-England One-Day international series resulted in no coverage of the first 1.4 overs of the first match on Friday.

NEO Sports that has rights for all of India's international matches to be played at home till 2014 accused Prasar Bharati for "unreasonable behaviour" that resulted in delayed permission from Information and Broadcasting Ministry for uplinking live feed to the match.

Prasar Bharati, on the other hand, blamed NEO Sports for not furnishing required documents, including a bank guarantee of over Rs 4 crore, and signing an agreement over revenue sharing.

"NEO Cricket is deeply disappointed by what it believes could be construed to be unreasonable behaviour by Prasar Bharati," NEO Sports said in a statement.

It said despite repeatedly communicating with Prasar Bharati much ahead of the first match, "Prasar Bharati refused to confirm on whether it wanted to share the live broadcast of the event or not."

Finally on October 10, as instructed by Prasar Bharati, and following the sealed bid process, Neo was appointed the 'Revenue Management Company' (RMC). RMC is responsible for selling advertising on the broadcast of the match on Doordarshan, NEO said.

As per the government rules, private sports broadcasters are required to share live feed for India's ODI and T20 matches with Prasar Bharati for terrestrial telecast.

Neo claimed that it paid Prasar Bharati the entire amount equivalent to the bank guarantee (BG) by way of bank demand draft today, around two hours ahead of the start of the match.

"Despite the above, the uplink licence to BCCI and Neo Cricket was issued past the match start time of 2:30 pm today resulting in no coverage for the first few balls of the event," it said.

This was refuted by Prasar Bharati, which said:"It was only at 1 pm today that they (Neo) came with a deposit of Rs four crore fifty thousand and an agreement was signed only hours after the match started. The company has said they will get a BG in one week to take back the deposit."

The public broadcaster further said: "The company (Neo) neither signed an agreement, nor did it present a bank guarantee. They wanted us to give them the permission to broadcast only on trust, which we refused as Prasar Bharati's interest had to be secured."(PTI)

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