Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd-owned Direct-to-home (DTH) platform Dish TV has written to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to prevent Star India from being the sole holder of the telecast rights of all the major cricketing events. DishTV says that the Star India holding all the cricket broadcasting rights is anticompetitive and anti-consumer, reports Livemint.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) bidding process closes on 28 August and the last date of purchasing bid documents was 24 August. BCCI has invited companies to buy television and digital media rights of IPL for a period of five years-from 2018 to 2022.

Currently, Star India has broadcasting rights for almost every format of the game.

  • In February 2015, the digital rights for the IPL, the T20 tournament organized by the BCCI for 2015 to 2017, was bagged by Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Star India Pvt Ltd.
  • Star also had a deal for BCCI Cricket Rights in India, the rights for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
  • A deal with the ICC called “cricket’s biggest-ever global broadcast agreement” for eight years (2015 to 2023), that includes 18 ICC tournaments, including two ICC Cricket World Cups (2019 and 2023), two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments (2017 and 2021) and two ICC World Twenty20 tournaments (2016 and 2020)

The letter, which was also sent to information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that Star India is a potential bidder the ongoing IPL auction and will monopolize the cricket broadcast rights. The publication reports that Jawahar Goel, chairman and managing director at Dish TV wrote in the letter that “Star India will exploit their monopoly status for maximising their subscription and advertisement revenue at the cost of consumers.” He further added that if Star India bags the telecast rights for IPL, the viewership of Star will skyrocket and distribution platforms such as DTH and multi system operators will have no choice but to subscribe to the Star Sports channels for cricket content.

What it means if Star holds all the rights

– More/continued restrictions for Media personnel: Take a look at the stringent guidelines for the ICC World Cup 2015, which prohibit mediapersons from providing match related scores, (match) results, images, commentary, whether via radio, TV, the Internet, mobile phones, without explicit permission of the ICC Development (International) Limited. Much more, here.

– Possibly more notices for app developers: We’ve seen several instances of Star and/or BCCI sending mobile app developers warnings about publishing Cricket scorecards in their apps, or providing live commentary. Some examples (with the text for the notice):

– October-November 2013, India vs Australia
– February 2014 for Asia Cup
– April 2014, for the Indian Premier League 2014
– October 2014 for India vs West Indies

– Delayed scorecards from online news sites: Cricinfo and Cricbuzz were both forced to delay scorecards for their live ball by ball coverage last year, unless they paid Rs 10 lakh per match. More on that here.