New Delhi: State-owned broadcaster Doordarshan is planning to have a dual programming feed for its sports channel DD Sports, following the Supreme Court verdict in August, asking the broadcaster to stop airing the sporting events of national importance on cable and private direct-to-home (DTH) operators.
The Supreme Court in August had upheld a Delhi high court ruling of 2015 and had said Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan, can air the feed it gets from private sports broadcasters only on its terrestrial network and its own DTH platform, Free Dish and not on Doordarshan channels carried by cable and private DTH platforms.
In the light of the verdict, Prasar Bharati has planned a series of changes in the way the sports programming is carried by Doordarshan channels until now.
Firstly, the public broadcaster has moved sports programming (the feed it gets from private broadcasters) from its flagship channel DD National to DD Sports. “All sporting events of national importance will be aired on DD Sports predominantly. We have started doing this with the (ongoing) U17 FIFA World Cup," said Shashi Shekhar Vempati, chief executive officer at Prasar Bharati.
Secondly, the channel has planned dual feed for DD Sports. While DD Sports will now air the sporting events on terrestrial network and DD Free Dish, a separate feed with different programming will be aired on the channel carried by cable and private DTH platforms. “It looked like a setback but it is an opportunity for us. We won’t disrupt the programming of DD National. DD Sports will now get an identity and purpose which was long overdue," Vempati added.
Under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, private broadcasters are obliged to share live broadcasting signals of sporting events of national importance with Prasar Bharati.
In two different gazette notifications, the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry had defined cricket and non-cricket events of national importance.
All official one-day international, Twenty20 and test matches played by the Indian men’s cricket team, semi-finals and finals of the men’s World Cup and International Cricket Council Championship Trophy were named cricketing events of national importance.
Among non-cricket sporting events are Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Summer and Special Olympics, Paralympics and certain tennis, hockey and football events.