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State-owned sports channel DD Sports will now broadcast the ICC World Test Championship finals along with official broadcaster Star Sports, a move that may somewhat steal the latter’s thunder but may not take away from its viewership or advertising revenue, said media buyers. India will play New Zealand on June 18 at Southampton.

“As per Supreme Court directives of 2017, the match shared under the Mandatory Sharing of Sports Signals Act is meant only for Doordarshan's own platforms. Hence it (the tournament) will be available only on DD FreeDish DTH (direct-to-home) and Doordarshan's DTT (digital terrestrial television) services in 19 cities," Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharti said. Disney which runs the Star network in India, declined to comment on sharing the test match feed with DD.

In India, even of the rights of certain sports events rest with private TV channesl, The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing With Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 (or Sports Act) enacted by the Parliament, allows for broadcast signals to be shared with Prasar Bharati in case of sporting events of national importance.

A person familiar with workings of Star said that the law of the land requires them to share feed and the organiser of the event is also bound by it. “As per law, DD will share 25% ad revenue it generates on the event with Star," the person added declining to be named.

Mint had earlier reported that Star Sports has signed a total of 16 sponsors for the tournament, as live cricket makes a much-awaited return after the suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL). These include several new-age and legacy brands such as Byjus, Dream 11, Cars24, Thums Up, Skoda, MRF, Cred, PolicyBazaar, Pharmeasy, PaisaBazaar, Niyo Solutions and Ultratech.

The broadcaster had earlier said it has signed over 30 advertisers across categories such as edtech, gaming, online payments and financial services, auto and ancillaries, construction, consumer durables and beverages. Brands that have come on board include Kia India, Renault, Unacademy, Apple, Dell, Google and TVS.

With the match kicking off on a weekend, Star is expecting high viewership on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

According to media buyers, 10-second ad slots are being sold for around Rs. 250,000 and Star is expected to make Rs. 50-60 crore from the final.

To be sure, media experts do not see the simultaneous broadcast on DD as a challenge to Star.

Harsha Joshi, an independent media consultant said the viewers of Star Sports are different from Doordarshan’s. Moreover, the quality of programming that Star puts up is far superior so the broadcaster will not lose viewership. “The advantage of this decision is that it will bring additional viewership from smaller towns where Doordarshan is still prevalent and viewers have not subscribed to satellite television. Since Star has already sold its ad inventory, it won't have a negative impact. In fact, if Doordarshan sells ads on the WTC Final telecast then it will have to share a percentage revenue with Star which holds the rights to the tournament," Joshi said.

“Broadcast on DD doesn’t take away Star audiences because they don’t watch DD anyway. What it impacts is Star’s distribution muscle with MSOs (multiple system operators) that diminishes substantially," said Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency.

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