DD Sports has blacked out signals to the Hathway Cable & Datacom in Mumbai and some parts of Maharashtra as the multi system operator (MSO) has not accepted the recent price hike. Consumers who are on Hathway Cable & Datacom network will not be able to watch live the Asiad and the India-West Indies cricket match in Mumbai.
Hathway, in retaliation, has put Ten Sports off air on its network. The official statement said, “We are unable to sell it. We have tried it for the past four months.” According to sources, Hathway’s tactic was to put pressure on Modi Entertainment Network (MEN), which distributes DD Sports, for coming down on the price. Though Ten Sports is handled by a separate company called Cable Distribution Network, it is part of the Modi Group which also owns MEN.
MEN, however, feels that the price increase is marginal. “Besides, it is an annual hike,” said Rajan Kaicker, chief executive officer, distribution companies, Modi Entertainment Network.
The consumers have also expressed dissatisfaction, even as their monthly subscription payment to cable operators has recently gone up at least by Rs 50 a month in Mumbai. Their argument: How can Hathway not carry the Doordarshan’s sports channel, which is telecasting Asiad and the India-West Indies cricket series live? The price increase, after all, is marginal. Incidentally, DD Sports has the exclusive rights to telecast live all international cricket played in India.
Hathway felt that it can withstand the consumer pressure to carry DD Sports till the commercial dispute is settled as ESPN and STAR Sports are telecasting highlights of the India-West Indies matches. Four days back, ESPN STAR Sports announced the acquisition of telecast rights of daily highlights of all international cricket series played in India till October, 2004.