Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Govt seeks legal opinion on CWG telecast contract

The contract between public broadcaster Prasar Bharati and UK-based SIS Live for television coverage of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 has now been referred to solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam. In addition to this, I&B ministry has written to the Central vigilance commissioner Pratyush Sinha on the coverage of the games and the tendering process for selection of the broadcaster. I&B secretary Raghu Menon's recent letter to Sinha, elaborating on the tender process, is being seen as a cautious step to ward-off controversies on a later date regarding 2010 Commonwealth Games telecast rights.

SIS wanted certain changes in its contract with Prasar Bharati, and that resulted in difference of opinion between the finance wing of the broadcaster and the Doordarshan Directorate. Subsequently, a decision was taken to seek the advice of the solicitor general.

SIS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Satellite Information Services (Holdings) Ltd and is owned by a combination of leisure and financial investors, according to the company website. It's into TV production, broadcasting and providing live pictures and data via satellite. It also supplies TV programming and data services to the UK and Ireland betting industry.

After a tender process earlier this year, in which at least 10 players participated, five were shortlisted. Finally, SIS Live of the UK was selected for production and coverage of the Delhi Commonwealth Games for Rs 246 crore.

Officials in the I&B ministry said that since Prasar Bharati does not have the expertise to conduct an international event in the high-definition television (HDTV) format, production and coverage of the games had been outsourced.

An empowered committee comprising top officials of Doordarshan and All India Radio selected the broadcaster.

Among other bidders shortlisted for producing the games coverage were ADAG group's Big Products in consortium with Inter Public Marketing Services Shanghai and Tokyo Broadcasting Systems.


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