Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cricket goes to free TV in India

I'm interested to see what the effects will be - long-term - of the Indian board's decision compelling TV rights holders to share the broadcast stream. This is a huge populist move, ensuring that folks without access to pay-TV channels in India have access to cricket. Echoes of the same issue were heard in England after the decision to award the cricket contract to Sky; and in Australia where Ashes broadcast rights are held by Nine, who would not show the game on free-to-air, choosing instead to show early sessions on pay-channels and only showing free-to-air in the post-tea session. For those who worry about the move to pay-TV and the death of free-to-air, this is a good move. I had been surprised by how uncritically folks in India had accepted the move to pay-channels.

As for diminished revenues for the ICC, perhaps they could ask the ECCB, they of the "spiritual home of cricket" to help out a bit. They did get a fat deal with Sky, didn't they?


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