The Delhi High Court today provided some relief for millions of fans by ruling that public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) can telecast the remaining three one-dayers between India and West Indies, and one match of the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka, as a seven-minute delayed feed. However, All India Radio, also government-owned, will be allowed to broadcast the matches live.
On January 21, millions of viewers across India were denied access to the first ODI between India and the West Indies in Nagpur as DD and Nimbus failed to reach an agreement.
Nimbus, who hold the telecast rights, had given DD two options: that they would either provide the latter live feed of the matches if they encrypt signals, or they could go in for a 15-minute delayed feed. DD, on their part were banking on their prerogative as a public broadcaster, especially the Indian government's uplinking guidelines that make it mandatory on private broadcasters to share feed of sporting events of "national interest" with DD.
Nimbus' lawyers argued in court today that a failure to encrypt signals would lead to the telecast spilling over to neighbouring countries, thereby violating marketing rights. DD, while apparently agreeing to this in principle, have reportedly asked the court for more time so that it can install set-boxes on thousands of transponders.
The next hearing before the court will be on February 8, when a more detailed and lasting resolution of the telecast row is expected. Meanwhile, the BCCI is to convene a meeting to discuss the issue in Delhi on February 7. The Indian board is a joint-petitioner in the cases pending before the courts and is committed to supporting Nimbus all the way.
"We have called an emergency working committee meeting of the BCCI on February 7 at Delhi and would be discussing the developments vis-a-vis the telecast row. We would ask our sponsors Nimbus to submit to us the difficulties they have been encountering," Niranjan Shah, the board's secretary, said on Tuesday.