What do you do when you want to find out how your favorite IPL team or football club is performing? The first instinct will be to switch on your television or your portable device (mobile/tablet) and find out! But as soon as you switch your device on, you notice that not all application or channel is broadcasting your match. Well, this is due to the “Broadcasting Rights” or “Media Rights”. What are broadcasting rights you ask? Well, let us find out in detail. 

What are Broadcasting Rights?

There are so many technical ways through which the term “Broadcasting Rights” or “Media Rights” can be defined. However, we choose to define these terms in a simple way. 

Broadcasting rights (media rights) is a contract that allows a particular streaming organization to broadcast the official films or footage of a particular competition. The streaming organization could be an OTT platform, television or the radio channel and/or any medium that might be invented in the future. A broadcasting right gives the broadcaster to transmit the feed to any part of the world in any language and on a live or delayed basis. 

Eg – Suppose the IPL governing body wants to broadcast all its matches and highlights to cricket lovers all around the world, it will enter into a contract with a broadcaster that can fulfill the governing body’s vision. For a particular amount of money, the broadcaster claims the right of streaming all the matches and highlights to the viewers. 

Why Selling Broadcasting Rights is Important for Sports Organizers?

Human beings are also called social animals. They interact with like-minded people to fulfill their various requirements. But this interaction happens in very small pockets. Sports is the only platform where these pockets merge and collectively become a huge space. Sports organizations want to cater to this huge space. So how do they do it? Exactly! They do it by selling broadcasting rights to broadcasters who can help them penetrate these spaces. 

But this can’t be the only thing that they see right? Every sporting body is affiliated with a larger democratic institution and they can do just fine by leasing this contract to the state-run broadcasters. But, where is the money in it? 

Broadcasting rights in contemporary times are equivalent to money. By selling these rights, sporting bodies earn millions in revenue. This revenue not only allows the sporting organizations to host the event but also add a variety of flavor to the competition to attract more viewership. More viewership means more money and the cycle continues. 

How Broadcasting Rights are Sold?

The selling of broadcasting rights is a step-by-step process. The same has been discussed in the pointers below – 

  1. A sporting committee or organizer reaches out to the broadcasters with the highest viewership in a particular demographic
  2. It then initiates a bidding process
  3. The highest bidder is awarded the broadcasting rights for a certain tenure
  4. A contract is put in place with various terms & conditions for both parties binding them to an agreement that none of them can interfer in the other’s space

How do Broadcasters make a Profit from Broadcasting Rights?

There are several ways a broadcaster can profit from broadcasting rights. Since these rights give them exclusive ownership of airing the footage, they can – 

  • Charge their viewers subscription money to enjoy live scenes from the matches
  • Raise their advertisement bids (advertisers have to pay more to air their ads on a particular channel or a specific time slot)
  • By allowing DTH or cable operators to show their channel/s in exchange for a particular fee

Can a Broadcaster Sell its Broadcasting Rights to Another Broadcaster?

It is unclear whether or not a broadcaster can sell off its broadcasting rights to another broadcaster. However, it can sub-license its broadcasting rights with another broadcaster for a few terms & conditions (limited territories) and a hefty amount. We are surely not the ones to answer this question but we tried to paint a brief picture. (Disclaimer – The query resolution has been done citing different websites. We are not responsible for any wrong information which percolated to us through these websites.)

Are there any Loopholes in the Current Broadcasting Rights?

Yes, even though broadcasting rights mean the exclusive right to stream or air matches and other events, there is still a long way to go in attaining a near-perfect situation. The biggest threat of all of them is “Signal Piracy”. It is a way of intercepting program-carrying signals for commercial or private benefit. We can only hope that the chinks in this armory get fixed easily so that we can enjoy watching our favorite teams compete and play fair!