New Delhi: In a historic order, the honourable Delhi High Court has prohibited Telecom Operators and Mobile Value Added Service (MVAS) providers from exploiting Star India’s exclusive cricket media rights by providing live updates of matches to their subscribers.
Star India has the exclusive media rights to cricket matches organised by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) until 2018.
The court, in its order on Wednesday, reaffirmed Star India’s exclusive digital rights to BCCI cricket matches on mobile as well and barred telecom operators from using match and score updates for commercial gains. It asked telecom operators and MVAS providers to either disseminate score updates with a lag of 15-minutes or pay a fair share of revenue generated through broadcast of live and contemporaneous scores to Star India by procuring a license. This is a vindication of Star India’s stand that match information and facts generated from a sporting event is a proprietary right which accrues to the event organizer in the digital space.
“The honourable High Court has vindicated Star India’s stand by passing this historic judgment. The lack of clarity was severely compromising the ability of rights owners to invest to create great experiences for sports fans. This decisive verdict finally creates clarity on who owns the rights and a mechanism for monetisation and fair revenue share. For me, this is a huge boost to the entire digital and mobile space. Finally, we have a foundation on which to build great products as well as successful businesses and the biggest beneficiary will be the consumer,” said Mr. Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India.
Hearing Star India’s petition, the High Court also observed that providing live score updates prevents Star India from effectively monetising its exclusive rights.
“It would be just and reasonable for the defendants to either obtain a license and gain equal rights to their subscribers, or make them wait for some time, in order to not prejudice the right of the plaintiff (Star India) to earn revenue from the match information,” the court said in its order. “Those who do not obtain a license from the plaintiff, may not disseminate the score update or match alert before 15 minutes from the moment such score update or match alert is telecast or broadcast by the plaintiff (Star India).”
Star India has lined up many firsts in sports broadcast and integration in the digital space is a central part of its plans to redefine viewers’ experience. The network intends to provide superior content to sports fans through multiple engagement platforms, including on the web, mobile phones and tablets.