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Volume 6 No. 213


Major int'l news agencies are "likely to suspend coverage" of the India-England series after the Board Of Control For Cricket In India "barred photo agencies from covering the series," according to REUTERS. The News Media Coalition, which champions freedom of the media, has "urged the BCCI to lift the restrictions" on the local and int'l picture agencies. In a statement, NMC Exec Dir Andrew Moger said, "In our view, the BCCI's move will hit fans and cricket sponsors alike. The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available, but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography." NMC members include Reuters, AFP, AP, Getty Images and the PA. Most of them have announced they would "suspend text and photo coverage if the restrictions are not lifted." The series begins in Ahmedabad, India Thursday (REUTERS, 11/14).

BT might appeal a recent court decision that blocked attempts to force Sky to lower the wholesale price for its sports programming as the telecom "considers whether to sell on its own recently acquired sports rights," according to Thomas & Budden of the FINANCIAL TIMES.  BT CEO Ian Livingston said he was “minded to appeal” the decision, which overturned an Ofcom ruling that BSkyB had to offer premium sports channels at wholesale prices to competitors. In August, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) dismissed competition concerns underpinning Ofcom’s verdict as “unfounded.” BT has until Nov. 26 to launch an appeal. An appeal "would reopen a five-year battle between regulators and Sky over the price it sells its sports programming to rivals." The potential challenge "comes at a delicate time for BT" as it ponders giving access to its soon-to-be-launched sports channel to Sky customers, and may also havedesigns on additional Sky content (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/15).

Hong Kong's Now TV has regained the exclusive broadcasting rights of the EPL for three seasons, beginning with the current one in session, according to Choya Choi of THE STANDARD. The pay-TV operator had lost the broadcasting rights in '10 to Cable TV. A source reported that the new deal is costing Now TV around $200M, "believed to be lower than what Cable TV paid for the right to air the hugely popular competition." Cable "reportedly earned $60M a year from the broadcasts." With the EPL scheduled to air on Now TV, Cable contract holders "might have to switch subscribers to watch their favorite football league." Cable does however still hold the rights to the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, which means "fans wanting to have the best of both worlds will be forced to shell out more in subscribing to both broadcasters" (THE STANDARD, 11/14). In Hong Kong, Mok & Perez noted Now TV's operator PCCW Managing Dir for TV & New Media Janice Lee said when asked if it would increase prices of its services: "As usual, we will introduce offers that provide the best value and best suit our customers' viewing needs." Additionally, Now TV holds the rights to air La Liga matches until '14-15, as well as the FA Cup and J.League games. Hong Kong Baptist University associate professor of journalism Yiu-ming said that losing the bid "was a big setback for Cable TV, which might lose many subscribers to Now TV" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 11/14).

BSkyB said that the costs to acquire broadcast rights to air EPL games "may affect margins next year," according to Thomson & Schweizer of BLOOMBERG. BSkyB "won the bidding in June" to show 116 matches starting in the '13-14 season, while BT won 38 matches. The sale raised £3.02B ($4.8B). BSkyB CFO Andrew Griffith said, "There’s clearly a little bit of discontinuity with the Premier League. There a step uplift next year, and then it’s amortized over the next few years" (BLOOMBERG, 11/14).

Brazilian broadcaster Globo has decided it will air the U.S. Grand Prix live, "but only" on pay-TV channel SportTV, according to Ferreira, Felix & Berredo of TAZIO. The timing of the second to last F1 race of the calendar year coincides with Week 36 of the Brasileiro season, which could see legendary Brazilian club Palmeiras relegated to the second division. Globo has thus opted to air football on its free-to-air channel over the F1 race, to which it also has the rights. However, in order to show the F1 race live, the broadcaster decided "to transfer it over to its pay-TV sports channel, SportTV." For "several weeks," it was suspected that the U.S. Grand Prix would not be chosen over Brasileiro action, but only now has the news been confirmed (TAZIO, 11/13).