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Update :  What the MSM-ESPN deal means
Thursday 08-October-2015, 14:36,
What the MSM-ESPN deal means
MUMBAI:
When
the
enemy
looks
extremely
threatening,
you
bring
in
allies
to
help
you
do
battle.
And
if
your
ally
is
a
friend-
turned-
foe
of
your
enemy,
it
makes
the
war
that
much
more
interesting.
And
combative.
We are referring to what’s about to
happen in the Indian sports television
ecosystem. Multi Screen Media India
(Sony Entertainment Television India)
has struck a deal with the US-based
mega sportscaster ESPN Inc under
which it will be helping bring in the
brand once again into the country as
its partner.
ESPN was Star TV’s former mate in
Asia until 2012 wherein they ran and
distributed channels in several Asian
countries jointly including in India.
The current MSM-ESPN agreement is
for the long term and will be for India
and the Indian sub-continent. The
joint venture will see new co-branded
sports channels, a multisport website
and an app rolling out over the next
few months. The companies will also
be exploring avenues on developing
original sports programs.
As a part of this deal, MSM’s sports
channel Sony Kix will be rebranded as
Sony ESPN.
It’s interesting that the partnership
is happening at the time that it is.
The IPL bids are slated to take place
next year and the buzz is that Star
India is likely to take the bidding to
close to the $4 billion mark for all
rights. And what better way for Sony
to make the going sticky or to present
a case once again for the rights than
to join forces with ESPN. Others who
could throw in a bid include Zee
Telefilms and Discovery’s Eurosport.
“However,” a high ranking Sony
International Television executive
told Indiantelevision.com , “there is
no way pricing for the IPL could go up
four times. A multiplier of two times
or three times over the previous bid is
conceivable but above that will make
it a big losing proposition.”
What’s also of interest is how Disney
is shaping its presence in India. Its
family entertainment initiatives got a
leg up when it invested in acquiring
Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV a few years
ago. This deal gave it access to UTV
Motion Pictures as well as channels
such as Bindass and Hungama.
Disney India recently severed its
distribution agreement with IndiaCast
Media – part of Viacom18 and has been
reaching out to satellite and cable TV
platforms to strike deals with
them directly.
Now with its sports offshoot ESPN
partnering with MSM, one will have to
see whether the latter’s distribution
offshoot MSM Media Distribution
resources will be used to shore up the
efforts of the distribution team at
Disney India. Or will the two work
totally independently?
Sports programming in India is likely
to also get a shot in the arm. ESPN is
renowned for its studio-based shows
and live coverage of events. Live
sports content in the deal includes
major US college football (including
the College Football Playoff and
comprehensive coverage of the
college football bowl season); major
US college basketball (including the
March Madness NCAA Championship
Tournaments); NCAA college sport
championships from baseball, softball,
lacrosse, soccer; Boxing (including
Premier Boxing Champions and ESPN’s
Big Fights Library); X Games; ESPN
Films Emmy-Award Winning 30 For 30
documentaries amongst others.
Additionally, with the entry of a
rejuvenated ESPN into India, the
entire sports broadcasting ecosystem
is likely to see rapid improvements as
more money will be pumped in by both
Star and the American sportscaster
with MSM. Clearly a win win for the
various vendors involved in sports and
sports broadcasting and ultimately
the sports fan.
http://www.indiantelevision.com/televisi...ans-151007
ANIL G
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