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Life becoming difficult for local cable operators as channels go pay

16-June-2001
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Life becoming difficult for local cable operators as channels go pay

As leading channels from different broadcasters go pay, the ground distribution system is getting cleaned up. Many independent cable operators, unable to withstand the pull and push of subscribers and the broadcasters, are selling their business to the dominant multi-service operators (MSOs).

Two operators in South Delhi and Noida recently sold off their business to Rajan Raheja-owned Wincable. The cable operators feel squeezed from both the sides – the broadcaster and the subscribers. For the cable operator, each encrypted pay channel means an additional one-time minimum investment of Rs 20,000 for the decoder and recurring monthly subscription charges.

The deadlock between the cable operator and Zee continues unabated. In Delhi, operators affiliated to Spectranet and InCable and some independent operators are not airing Zee due to difference in the pricing of the Zee bouquet and the number of subscribers.

Cable operators affiliated with InCable have apparently signed a tentative agreement with Zee. Spectranet affiliated cable operators seem to be holding out. Spectranet provides its services in prime areas of Delhi.

The resistance from cable operators seems to have affected the channel in the rural areas of Rajasthan, UP, MP and Punjab. Certain operators however allege that Zee is targeting only the top TRP cities leaving the rest in the lurch.

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