Star sports India has recently been on a war claiming its monopolistic rights. It has seeked and obtained the orders from court which
- Restrains mobile / online platforms from publishing live cricket scores
- Restrains Pubs, Eateries from Showing WT20 Matches.
What will it do next?
- Seek an order restraining hotels not to air Star Sports live coverage.
- Seek an order restraining your friends coming to your home to watch cricket.
- Seek an order which will make consumers to pay them according to how many people watch the live match in a single TV instead of normal cable / DTH subscription charges.
- Seek an order to quadruple that, since each single non-blind / non-deaf person has 2 eye balls and 2 ears with which they enjoy Star India’s property paying the price of one. How atrocious cheat the common man is?
Now seriously, Why is Star India doing all these?
Star has spent big in India and is expecting to extract more money out of every single paisa. What’s wrong, Nothing. But in the process, its killing the golden goose and is also insane, as these measures of restricting are bound to be counter-productive eventually.
Let me dissect each of the 2 orders and convince you why its not going to change things.
Hot News & Cricket scores:
Cricket scores used to popular M-VAS services, but with increasing penetration of smartphones scores are consumed more through Cricinfo, Cricbuzz apps / mobile web. Star has kept a check on these by getting an order and asking for revenue sharing model with Cricinfo, Cricbuzz, but the internet / mobile companies are probably going to fight it out in courts than giving it up easily. The reason being companies like Cricinfo, Cricbuzz are not going to get any extra revenue and any sharing model is a loss for them.
There is logical fallacy in equating scores as ‘property’ of Star. Because the original rights holder of these scores(if something at all exists) is BCCI. @BCCI on Twitter has been providing updates for every boundary, wicket (practically ball by ball on T20). Whats more, it looks like that handle is tweeting from ground, sometimes I get the tweet before I see the ball on TV :P. So the erstwhile M-VAS subscriber or current CricInfo/Cricbuzz user can actually follow @BCCI and enable mobile alerts to get the same hot news free of cost even hotter at times 🙂
Locking exhibit rights and real motto
If you think Star is going to get a significant chunk from licensing to pubs, restaurants, you are wrong. In fact scheduling India matches on Fridays, Sundays does little for this cause as anyway pub hoppers will anyway go to pubs on these days. So what is Star looking at? It wants to sell the Star Sports Match Center and earn a revenue out of it from its mobile apps. Star Sports Match Center is an amazing platform and gives best digital experience available today of watching a sport with scores / stats / annotations all in the hands of consumer. But why its not going to take off? Because we have pathetic internet / even more pathetic mobile internet. Until 4G takes off in full swing (which is at least couple of years away), no one finds value in paying ₹50 for a match and wait for buffering to complete while watching a live match.
There is logical fallacy in this as well, as the order does not prohibit the same pubs, hotels from showing National Broadcaster DD. Can a court ask for blockade of national broadcaster on the grounds of Copyright?
Why is Star doing all these?
This is because Cricket is no longer sole darling of television advertisers. Its become one of them. This is because of losing interest in Cricket due to fixing / scams etc, alternate entertainment forms which attract them than Cricket. Unlike in 90s, There are people today who will watch Arnab Gosami-Pakistan ambassador match when Ind-Pak match is happening. Decline in television revenues puts pressure on Star to look for alternative revenue streams and someone in Star is thinking along the lines of movie industry and try to establish rights on property that never existed without realizing putting things behind pay wall without significant improvement in experience is only going to further keep the interest down.
While it may be important for Star to monetize, it can easily kill the golden goose of media ‘Cricket’ if it continues to alienate viewers by these restrictions.