broadcaster Nimbus, which holds the telecast rights for all BCCI matches till 2010, has rolled out its own distribution network.
Ever since Nimbus' Rs 1,000 crore distribution deal with STAR India broke off early last month, Nimbus' distribution had been on a sticky wicket. It is learnt that Nimbus was also in talks with Sony Entertainment Television's (SET's) One Alliance for a likely distribution deal, before launching an independent distribution network on its own.
But the deal did not work out because One Alliance was not ready to pay the price quoted by Neo Sports, keeping in the mind the government ordinance to share the feed with Doordarshan, which is expected to slow the demand for the channel.
When quizzed about it, Shashi Kalathil, CEO, Neo Sports, declined to comment, saying that it was an old issue.
He then gave his rationale behind launching an independent distribution route. "It will allow us a rapid ramp up, better longterm control and superior monetising. For the next two-three months, the focus will be on getting maximum distribution reach for Neo Sports and Neo Sports Plus," he says.
Neo Sports claims that several non-sports channels have shown interest in joining the bouquet, and the distribution hopes to leverage this interest by expanding the bouquet in the near future.
The company has roped in Arun Poddar as president, affiliate sales, for Neo Sports, to lead this initiative. Poddar, an industry veteran with more than 23 years' experience, was till recently CEO at Zee Turner. Before that, he has worked for other sports broadcasters such as Ten Sports and ESPN STAR Sports.
Recently, Neo Sports Broadcast tied up with various language channels to telecast the matches in different regional feeds. Positioned as the 'Home of Indian Cricket in India', Neo Sports holds the rights for all BBCI matches till 2010. This year itself, Australia and Pakistan are scheduled to visit India and play Test matches and ODIs.