James Murdoch, Star group chairman and chief executive officer has blamed the domestic cable operators for putting the broadcasting business at risk by pocketing a whopping Rs 2,000 crore through under-declaration of paid subscribers.
According Murdoch Jr., the price paid to pay the broadcasters by system operators is a paltry 5 per cent of the total retail subscription pie, one fifth of what would normally be considered an appropriate percentage.
Almost Rs 2,000 crore is stuck at the sub-operator level that should be flowing throughout the system. “Until it is unlocked, if you will, the whole business is at risk,” he warned.
According to him, this action is an outright copyright violation, which needs “concerted and focussed collective action” to stamp it out. Stating that the cable operators should get their act together, he said, “they have to learn to adopt international business practices and work hand-in-hand with the broadcasters instead of opposing them”.
On direct-to-home (DTH), Murdoch said its introduction, along with a fully digital service with competitive pricing, may bring growth prospects for the broadcasters.