Nimbus today threatened to pull out of its Rs 2,714 crore five-year telecast deal with the Board of Cricket Council of India (BCCI) over a encryption signal row.
Nimbus has left the board to sort out the matter with the government after state broadcaster Doordarshan was allowed telecast of Indian cricket. Nimbus has been angered over Doordarshan’s unencrypted signal being reached to parts outside of India.
Sources close to the development said that the BCCI had received a letter from Nimbus expressing its concerns over the encryption of signals.
However, BCCI President Sharad Pawar, sought to downplay the development.
He acknowledged that a letter had indeed been received from Nimbus, but added that it only expressed resentment on certain issues and was not a threat to pull out.
“There is no problem with the Ordinance for us and Nimbus. We completely agree with that. But there are certain technicalities; the signals are going out of India to the Gulf and other places, which is affecting the revenues of Nimbus and the BCCI,” Pawar said before the BCCI meeting.
The dispute is over the fact that when Nimbus signed the deal with BCCI, there was no clause about mandatory sharing of cricket feed with Doordarshan.
But with the government issuing the sports Ordinance that makes it mandatory for all private sports channels to share feed, Nimbus complained that there will be an adverse effect on the projections of its advertising revenue.
As a result, Nimbus demanded that the bid amount be reduced for the five-year telecast rights of all first class cricket in India.
Nimbus also fears that without proper encryption of signals, there is chance of piracy and wants Prasar Bharati to engage in the process.
“As long as Doordarshan runs unencrypted signal we have a problem,” Nimbus CEO Harish Thawani said after the BCCI meeting in the evening.
He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has set a five-member committee comprising Lalit Modi, IS Bindra, N Srinivasan, Shashank Manohar and Arun Jaitley, to look into the issue.