Amitabh Bachchan may give his fans another reason to cheer when he picks up the mike for commentary during the India-Pakistan World Cup clash on February 15, but it will be a test of loyalty for Big B followers in the state as they will have the option to tuning in to Bengali commentary as well.
Following the success of Hindi commentary, the Star Sports network has decided to go ahead with Bengali on Jalsha Movies.
Multi-system operators (MSO) believe this will be an added reason to watch the matches, especially for those who enjoy Bengali cricket commentary on radio. "The World Cup, being the biggest cricket event, will generate a huge interest as people want to listen to what experts say in Bengali," said Siticable director Suresh Sethia. Sony TV had introduced Bengali commentary for World Cup football matches last year.
Meanwhile, a last-minute rush has ensued to subscribe to Star Sports channels. With Doordarshan not beaming any of India's matches live, cricket-lovers will miss out the action unless they subscribe to special packages. MSOs are offering the Star Sports channels a la carte for Rs 30 a channel.
No base pack includes any of the Star Sports channels. The mid-range pack offers just one. "But that will not be enough. So, we are offering them a la carte. Subscribers are upgrading from the base pack to the middle pack and from the latter to the premium one. But to tune in to the Bengali commentary, you don't need to upgrade to the premium pack for our mid-level pack offers Star Jalsha. Those opting to buy two Star Sports channels a la carte will have Star Jalsha free," said Sethia.
MSO Manthan, too, is offering the channels a la carte at the same price.
"Many are under the impression that DD will beam India's matches and so they have been slow to react. Once the hype rises, there would be a rush for the Star Sports channels. A la carte would be preferred by most," said Manthan director Sudip Ghosh.
It's been unfair on subscribers, some broadcasters felt. With channels not disclosing their telecast schedule till a couple of weeks prior to important events, viewers have been left with very little time to opt for packages, they pointed out.