afaqs! news bureau

NEO Sports to handle its own distribution

The channels were earlier distributed by The One Alliance.

NEO Sports Broadcast has decided to handle its channels' distribution on its own instead of continuing ties with The One Alliance, the distribution venture of MSMD. The in-house team of NEO Sports will be at the helm of NEO Sports and NEO Prime's distribution to cable and HITS operators from April 1.

NEO Sports to handle its own distribution
Announcing this move, the NEO spokesperson says that as the company shares a "fantastic" relationship with DTH operators and other digital platforms, it is confident that it will be able to build a robust relationship with cable and HITS companies across the country. "The dawn of addressability is a great opportunity for all of us; we are confident that we will be able to forge an equally robust and healthy relationship with cable companies as we start selling channels directly through our team," the spokesperson says.

NEO Sports had given its cable distribution rights to MSMD in 2010 despite its in-house team managing a portion of the distribution to DTH and other digital distribution platforms.

Dilip Sharan, executive vice-president, distribution platforms, NEO Sports Broadcast says the move is a step in the right direction to further build the company's business keeping in mind the emerging digital landscape. "Our cable distribution deal with MSMD made better commercial sense in the analogue environment. The suggestive regulatory (TRAI) approach combined with digitisation clearly points that future distribution deals will be dictated by the relevant content that is made available to various audiences and the ability to work with the platforms keeping in mind the business issues and not entirely on the strength of the channels' size in the bouquet, a prevalent practice in the analogue era," Sharan states.

In fact, NEO Sports' relationship with DTH operators reinforced the line of thinking that standalone channels can make for a business case as much and as efficiently in a digital environment, provided it can offer relevant content that has significant traction in various categories of sport, Sharan adds. Attractive pricing and intention to engage with business partners in creating a mutual supportive business environment were also important.

NEO Sports channels are currently available on leading DTH platforms such as Dish TV, Videocon D2H, Airtel Digital TV, Reliance and Sun. The channels are also present in national and regional cable networks as well.

This year, NEO Sports channels will telecast some of the biggest sports events including French Open, Fed Cup, Davis Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Bundesliga and US PGA.

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