cricradiot20Channel 2 Group, which has bagged the rights for broadcasting commentary of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World T20 championship over the Internet, has partnered with ESPNCricinfo to launch Cricket Radio.

Cricket Radio, which will go live on Saturday, will feature audio commentary by Sunil Gavaskar, Clive Lloyd, Ravi Shastri and Kepler Wessels. Channel 2 has partnered with other entities for distribution of the commentary: with Hum FM Radio in UAE, Sirius Radio in United States and Canada, and Radio Sport in New Zealand. In India, it claims to have tied up with Reliance Communications.

Channel 2 Chairman Ajay Sethi told GulfNews that they had invested $10 million in the initiative, of which $5 million were spent on acquiring rights. According to the Channel 2 website, they’ve acquired the following rights from the ICC:

1. Radio Broadcast Rights for Middle East till the Year 2015.
2. Internet Rights Globally till 2015
3. Radio coverage via Internet & through Mobile Telephone Systems for Middle East Region till the Year 2015.
4. Radio Rights, Radio coverage via Internet & through Mobile Telephone Systems for United States, Canada & Mexico till the Year 2015.
5. Internet Streaming, Mobile Audio & 3 G Global Rights excluding India till the year 2015

Note that $5 million appears to be a rather low price for all the rights mentioned above, and Sethi hasn’t specified which rights he is referring to. There are no details on the website, about what the company means by “Internet Rights”. If they had exclusive rights, then how could Yahoo have struck a deal with the ICC earlier this year? In February, Yahoo had announced a 3 year deal with the ICC, covering exclusive content (images, videos, interviews and player chats) from ICC events – ICC World, Twenty20, ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup.

Cross Media Rights; Pricing

Cricket Radio cuts across media – Cricinfo will be offering it on its website as well as its WAP site. Both broadband and mobile customers of Reliance will have access to Cricket Radio.

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According to Gult News, the content should be up on Cricinfo by Saturday and users will be charged $1.99 per match to begin with. This amounts to Rs.93.53 – way too high for just audio. A reasonable price would have been, say, Rs. 20 – even $0.99 (Rs. 46.53) would be too high to attract volumes.

Over Mobile

WAP site, voice portal, caller ring back tunes, commentary on RWorld with an application that can be downloaded: these will be the various ways the audio commentary will be brought to 74.8 million Reliance connections. Medianama had previously written about Reliance bagging exclusive mobile content rights to the ICC World Championship. Two of the offerings it planned to launch – caller tunes that will belt out match scores and expert commentary – could be powered by Channel 2. We’ve contacted RCOM for a confirmation of this.

Reliance has revealed to Channel 2 that an estimated 6.5 lakh mobile customers have set caller ring back tunes on their handsets. They are potential customers as are the 15 lakh subscribers who listen to LIVE commentary through Reliance’s voice portal. ROVP, Reliance Owned Voice Portal, offers Music Zone to listen to and download songs, Find a Friend and Talking Message amongst other services.

Broadband & Landline

Cricket Radio will also be offered to postpaid users of Reliance broadband and will be available on the company’s website Rcom.co.in. Reliance will also offer the radio on its upcoming customer-centric portal Myservices.RelianceADA.com, which has not been launched officially. The ICC audio commentary and webcasting would reach 1.5 lakh Reliance broadband customers, Channel 2 has said. The audio commentary will also be targeted at landline customers of Reliance, according to Channel 2. It quotes this base as being around 2 lakh.

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