According to industry sources, Star and the Zee-AOL Time Warner joint venture have sent separate feelers to Sony to explore a common distribution of their bouquet of channels with that of Sony’s.
According to the industry sources, issues like pricing and decoder boxes need to be hammered out between Star and Sony before a deal is finally struck.
If Star and Sony form a strategic alliance, their combined share of the total cable and satellite TV viewership may exceed that of the competition. While the Star bouquet of seven channels is sold to cable operators for Rs. 40.50 per cable home per month, the Sony bouquet of four channels are priced at Rs 22.
The Zee-Turner joint venture is working out a pricing for the Zee and Turner channels, which will be offered to cable operators from February.
According to sources, Zee-Turner is interested that Sony too should join them to build a formidable non-Star platform.
Despite considerable consolidation in the cable industry, divisions and squabbling amongst cable operators and multi-system operators persist, resulting in frequent face-offs between broadcasters and cable operators —much to the chagrin of viewers.
According to the industry analysts, the Rs 5,000 crore subscription channel market is estimated to double in the next four to five years.