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Status quo continues for Doordarshan’s World Cup broadcasts

Indian public-service broadcaster Doordarshan will continue to share broadcast signals of the 2015 Cricket World Cup with cable television operators after the country’s Supreme Court today (Thursday) reserved a verdict on the matter.

The Supreme Court last week stayed an order from the Delhi High Court barring Doordarshan from sharing the signals. The Supreme Court asked ESPN and Star Sports, the global rights-holders of the World Cup, to submit their suggestions and resumed the case on Tuesday.

The IndianTelevision.com website said Doordarshan’s parent company, Prasar Bharati, today ruled out the possibility of establishing separate channels for the broadcast of live World Cup games.

Senior advocate P Chidambaram, on behalf of Star Sports, had said Prasar Bharati could create another channel for World Cup broadcasts, which is not provided to cable operators. However, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, on behalf of Prasar Bharati, said this was not technically feasible.

ESPN and Star Sports, along with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, have claimed that cable television operators are receiving live feeds through Doordarshan channels free of cost, resulting in a loss of revenue for them.

Star Sports today said that it had incurred loss of Rs2.9bn (€41.5m/$47m)  last year through sharing sports signals with Doordarshan and was expected to incur a further loss of Rs1.2bn for the World Cup alone.

However, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose extended the interim order allowing Doordarshan to broadcast the matches under its current operating method. It is unclear when proceedings will resume in the case.

The World Cup got underway on Saturday and is being hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The Supreme Court’s stay order took in India’s opening victory against Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday, with the national team next in action against South Africa on February 22.