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Volume 6 No. 212


News Corp.-owned Star India, which has invested more than Rs 100 crore ($19M) in technology "for enhancing viewer experience for sports consumption," has launched its new website, according to the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Currently in its beta form, "the site gives Indian cricket fans a personalised audio-visual experience beyond TV." Star India COO Sanjay Gupta said, "We call this a video player as an alternative to television. Younger generation today spend increasingly more time on the Internet, and so we decided to significantly improve the quality of sports online and give them better experience than television." The website features includes high definition video streaming, an advanced player that can be individually controlled and the ability to catch up on the game through both a video scorecard and a video timeline that marks the key moments of the game. Gupta said that while the website is free for now and offers only cricket, "in a phased manner, it will start charging the users" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 1/3).

Taj Television-owned Ten Sports "has secured the broadcast rights" to televise WTA Premier tournaments for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka from '13-16, according to INDIAN TELEVISION. In addition to TV rights, Ten Sports has also acquired the rights to distribute the matches via mobile and Internet. As part of the deal, Ten Sports will feature 110 matches every year including the semifinal and final from each of the WTA's 22 Premier tournaments, including the year-end WTA Championships (INDIAN TELEVISION, 12/31).

BBC pundit Robbie Savage, "known as football’s Mr. Marmite" because of the way he polarises opinion, certainly was not rival broadcaster ITV Sport’s idea of "the right personality to promote" its FA Cup coverage, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Bookmakers William Hill, which is sponsoring ITV’s FA Cup programming, has Savage as one of its top ambassadors. The proposed footage for its commercial break slots during this weekend’s FA Cup coverage had Savage "starring in Where’s Wally?-style clips" with Savage appearing on computer screens as a cardboard cut-out. ITV opposed Savage "receiving such ambush publicity" on its network and "quickly rejected the William Hill advertising, which has been changed in time for the third-round games." An ITV insider said: "We work closely with our sponsorship partners to ensure that all material meets the approval of both parties before broadcast." William Hill said: "We’re in discussion with ITV regarding the editorial content of our new sponsorship. This is a normal process within the terms of our deal" (DAILY MAIL, 1/2).

Spain's satellite pay-TV operator Canal+ "has removed Discovery Channel, Eurosport and Eurosport HD from its platform." The move comes after rumors that Eurosport "is to be bought into by Discovery Channel and follows the disappearance of Eurosport and Eurosport 2 from the grid of Spain's main cable operator Ono" (RAPID TV NEWS, 1/2). ... German news channel N-TV "has acquired the TV rights for the World Rally Championship in '13." The channel "will show each of the 13 championship races in a show called PS - Die Rallye-WM on Sunday evenings." In addition, the channel "will provide WRC updates in its hourly newscasts." N-TV also acquired the rights for the Dakar Rally and "will report on the latest developments" from South America (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 12/22). ... BBM Canada confirmed that the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia "has recorded solid ratings for TSN and TSN2 during the opening round of the tournament." The average minute of Team Canada's decisive victory over Team Russia on New Year's Eve "was watched by 2.5 million viewers over TSN's live and encore broadcasts -- making it the most-watched round-robin game of this year's tournament." Overall, 6.4 million Canadians "watched some part of TSN and TSN2's coverage of the Canada-Russia World Juniors game on New Year's Eve" (TSN).