Thursday, December 24, 2009

Either Finalize Contract Now or Leave Us: UK broadcaster SIS Live warns Doordarshan

If delay in getting stadia and infrastructure ready for Commonwealth Games next year is giving sleepless nights to many, hiccups have crept into finalization of contract for worldwide telecast of the event, raising doubts also about TV coverage of the ongoing Queen’s Baton Relay.

The contract was awarded in October after a global tender to UK-based SIS Live, Europe’s largest outside broadcast and uplink supplier, for Rs 246 crore. But paper work has not yet been finalized, leading a miffed SIS Live to tell Doordarshan that unless the contract was finalized soon, it would be difficult for it to continue with the work. The work, apart from covering the Queen’s Baton Relay across countries before reaching Delhi before October 2010 when CWG begins, included setting up world-class telecast facilities at the venues of 17 sporting events as well as imparting training to DD staff.

This veiled ultimatum from SIS Live has led to hectic parleys among officials of the national TV network, which has roped in solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam to iron out legal creases in the contract.

Doordarshan director general Aruna Sharma, however, was optimistic that things would be sorted out soon with the foreign partner though she admitted that there were a few hiccups in finalization of the contract with SIS Live.

“I am concerned like everyone. But I am sure things will be sorted out soon and a firm contract will be in place before mid-January. Non-availability of officials from either side on account of Christmas holidays is also delaying a full-fledged meeting. It just requires a single meeting of all concerned to arrive at a consensus document,” Sharma told TOI. Though the first draft of the contract was made available on October 29, the foreign partner has raised concern over Indian legal parameters being incorporated into the text of the contract.