Update: According to the Financial Express, the deal is for 8 years and has been valued at $100 million. We contacted RCOM regarding this, and the company declined to comment on the specific period or the amount of the deal. The Financial Express does not mention the source of its information.
Original Story: Reliance Mobile has bagged the rights to exclusive mobile content on the International Cricket Council’s World T20 championship that is set to begin next month. In terms of online content, Yahoo had inked a three year deal with the ICC for online content including images, videos, interviews and player chats, powers the current website for ICC and has launched a sub-site Cricket.Yahoo.com.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup T20 will be held this year in England in June. It is an international level event and will be played over 17 days as compared to Indian Premier League, which is being played over 44 days.
RCOM announced that it has tied up with ESPN-Star to broadcast Live cricket matches, and subscribers will be able to watch all ICC World T20 matches on R-World. The company will also distribute content such as videos, wallpapers, ringtones, animations related to the event. It plans to launch mobile games and caller tunes that will belt out match scores and expert commentary on the matches.
Reliance will also launch a toll-free number that users can call to listen to live score updates. Users can also subscribe to score updates via SMS.
We contacted Reliance to ask about the charges and were informed that the pricing has not yet been decided. Sify reports that Sanjay Behl, Group Head, Branding and Marketing, RCOM said it would cost Rs 10-15 per minute. This is a premium to the current rates R-World charges for Mobile TV channels. Currently R-World has 2,00,000 content titles and offers 13 TV channels. Mobile TV for news channels such as NDTV, BBC World News and CNN IBN Online costs Rs 15 for 5 minutes, excluding GPRS charges. The list of rates for downloads and accessing Mobile TV are available as a download here (Excel file).
Other Cricket Packages: Other Cricket matches cost Rs 25 to watch live on R-World, which includes highlights that users can watch at their convenience. Reliance currently offers cricket related subscription packages – one that brings score updates with wicket alerts, over alerts etc costs Rs 15 per match. To learn the cricket score, users will be charged Rs 3 or instead they can sign up to receive an SMS alert at the end of every 5 overs for Rs 15.
Cricket Bodies & Digital Rights: Exclusive Or Not Exclusive?
This award of exclusive rights follows the trend set by Indian Premier League where rights were sold to multiple entities – Willow.tv (part of Reliance BIG Entertainment), Net Link Blue (NLB) and Global Cricket Ventures: NLB then sold Zenga the mobile live streaming and WAP rights and Canaan Partners funded mobile VAS company Cellcast the rights to SMS content for the tournament. Details of the IPL Digital Rights here.
Where the implementation differs in case of IPL and the ICC World T20 Championship is that while the ICC Rights were given to only one telecom operator – RCOM – the live streaming of the IPL is available on multiple telecom operators via Zenga: Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, BSNL, MTNL, Aircel and Tata Indicom; we’ve been tracking the tie-ups, and Airtel was the last operator to come on board, while Aircel was among the first. Why not spread the net wide, instead of limiting rights to a single operator?
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