New Delhi: The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) broadcast partner Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSMPL), plans to take to court some news channels that are members of the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) for allegedly violating guidelines set by the IPL committee.
These guidelines, agreed upon barely three weeks ago, and after some amount of sparring between the two sides, allow news channels to use footage of the ongoing matches for a fixed duration.
“We will go to court as that’s the only option left,” said a person close to the development at MSMPL. “Some of the violations are worth taking legal action.” This person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the broadcaster has hired TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, the Mumbai-based television audience measurement agency, to track IPL footage used by news channels. At least four to five violations are being reported every day, he added. “These channels have been pulled up for misusing our feed for commercial benefit, especially, through special programmes other than news.”
Rohit Gupta, president, network sales at MSMPL said IPL is coordinating with TAM on the findings and “some notices have gone out to channels”. He declined to comment on specific instances of the guidelines being violated.
TAM declined to disclose the names of the channels in question. However, Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of IPL, made it clear that legal action is in order for channels for any breach in the agreed contract. “News channels have signed an agreement with IPL and SET Max (the MSMPL channel that telecasts matches) and we will take necessary action against them.”
NBA president Sameer Manchanda was not available for comment. The news channel body’s secretary general Annie Joseph did not respond to Mint’s queries. However, a senior editor of a news channel, which is part of NBA, said “We cannot count every second of footage used; it’s not possible to do that. If there is some extra footage used, channels will simply pay for it.”
According to him, there is no law that restricts IPL footage on channels if the excess is duly paid for.
MSMPL’s Gupta said there was no arrangement to “pay extra”. “Channels have to adhere to the rules specified in the agreement,” he added.
The person close to the situation at MSMPL added that NBA is currently challenging TAM findings.
Interestingly, Hindi news channel Aaj Tak and Multi Screen Media are still engaged in a legal battle over the channel’s use of IPL footage during the tournament’s second season last year.
The controversy surrounding IPL access guidelines surfaced in February when NBA, which has 34 channels as its members, objected to the stringent media guidelines issued by IPL.
The organization threatened to boycott coverage of IPL’s third season but relented a day before the tournament kick started on 12 March after Modi made some minor changes to the rules which are meant to protect the commercial interests of the league’s official broadcast partner MSMPL.