In an era ruled by private firms like ESPN and Star Sports, putting a stay on the Delhi High Court order, the Supreme Court granted permission for Doordarshan (DD) to telecast live cricket World Cup matches along with the private firms.
“The position of 2007, we are maintaining it for a while. We thought there is something to hear. We will not bring about a situation abruptly. This arrangement under which DD shows free feed has been there for the last seven years. Let it continue,” the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said while staying the HC verdict.
Earlier, Star India Ltd. filed a plea in the Delhi High Court stating that it violates the exclusive telecast rights of live Cricket World Cup feeds. Sports giant asked the Prasar Bharti not to share the live feeds. In response, Prasar Bharti said in the apex court that it is not feasible to start a new channel just to telecast cricket matches.
According to the Delhi High Court verdict Doordarshan was barred from sharing live cricket feeds with private cable operators. The court asked BCCI, Star Sports and Prasar Bharti to come out with a solution and settle the disputes.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who stood for the Prasar Bharti said that under Sports Act and Cable TV Network Act, it is mandatory for private firms to share the live feeds along with Doordarshan that holds national interests.
Private companies pay a high amount to BCCI for the exclusive telecast of cricket matches in India. Doordarshan sharing the live feed violates the exclusivity and cuts their profit too. ESPN and Star India Ltd primarily earns from advertisement and end users who pay a handsome amount to watch the channel. It’s certain that if Doordarshan telecasts those matches live then users will not pay for their channel neither will they watch those advertisements. Thus, these private firms filed a case requesting exclusivity.
However, the Supreme Court’s verdict seems to be in welfare of the country’s citizens.