Deadlock over IPL coverage persists

Deadlock over IPL coverage persists

New Delhi: The threat by television news broadcasters last week to boycott the Indian Premier League hasn’t had any effect on Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSMPL), which holds the live telecast rights for the tournament that begins 12 March.

The new guidelines for IPL coverage by news channels, which is the bone of contention, remain unchanged despite protests by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA). The rules were released in a public advisory on Saturday.

“No changes have been made to the IPL media guidelines," confirmed a spokesperson for the IPL tournament.

“It is conventional for sports governing bodies, such as the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India)-IPL, to attempt to balance the rights of its investors and the privileges granted to the media," the IPL website stated. A “widespread breach and violation of the guidelines across numerous news channels" in previous seasons had fuelled the revision, it added.

Talks to break the deadlock are expected to take place shortly however.

“There will be a meeting held this week to resolve issues with the NBA," said a senior official at MSMPL on condition of anonymity. “Channels monetize IPL and most of them already have wrap-around programmes and panel discussions planned around the tournament. So they wouldn’t ignore the commercial side of it," he remarked on the boycott threat.

Sameer Manchanda, NBA president and a joint managing director at IBN18 Broadcast Ltd, declined to comment on the current status of IPL coverage saying the matter was still “under negotiation".

NBA, which has 34 channels as members, has objected to the “arbitrary" media guidelines that have slashed IPL footage use to 30 seconds per news bulletin against 4 minutes earlier.

The 5-minute gap permitted between a match and its footage being used has been raised to 30 minutes till after the live broadcast is over.