V.V. Subrahmanyam

Neo Sports Channel fails initially and after some time goes off the screen

Tata Sky shifts Neo Sports Channel into the gold sports package

HYDERABAD: Cricket fans were taken for a ride again on Wednesday as Hathway was back to its familiar ‘tricks. Old habits die hard! For, the network which has a near monopoly on the cable distribution in the twin cities was at it again when the first test between India and South Africa began in Chennai. The three-test match series is scheduled to be telecast live on Neo Sports Channel.

But this cable network initially did not beam the telecast on the primary bands. And, when fans called up the cable networks in the morning, they started getting a somewhat positive response – get the TV set tuned to see the telecast of cricket. The Neo Channel was on screen. Then after sometime, it was off the screen in most of the areas. And like always, the Hathway network people and the cable operators refused to entertain any calls on the subject in the post-lunch session.

Tata Sky service went a step further by shifting the Neo Sports Channel into the gold sports package scheme which makes it mandatory for every subscriber to pay Rs. 200 per annum. Clearly, every time there is big-time cricket on television, these cable networks are clearly cashing in on the craze and putting the fans to acute hardship.

Dampener

These gimmicks have come as a dampener for the fans, especially for all college students who have just finished their examinations. “Why should we be at the mercy of these cable operators,” asks G. Venkatesh Yadav, avid cricket fan. Meanwhile, Nimbus Communications announced the launch of www.cricketnirvana.com, the new home of Indian cricket and Indian cricket fan on the internet for the India-South Africa series. This is the first instance that a sport will be available in a truly interactive form to millions of cricket fans as it ensures a “near TV viewing experience” along with the best of interactive tools. As a promotional offer, it is offering full match live streaming, along with the complete package absolutely “free” for the on-going first test in Chennai.