After failing to successfully negotiate with STAR to bring its channels on its DTH platform, ASC Enterprises (DishTV) has filed a petition against STAR India with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) alleging it to be consistently adopting ‘dilatory tactics’ and stipulating terms and conditions which are ‘impractical, impermissible and unreasonable’.
DishTV from the Zee group, currently the only private DTH service provider, has alleged that despite the “Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulation, 2004” by TRAI, which covers the arrangements among service providers for interconnection and revenue share for all Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services throughout the territory of India, STAR has not abided by the order.
“Every broadcaster shall provide on request signals of its TV channels on non-discriminatory terms to all distributors of TV channels,” it quoted TRAI in the petition.
Zee has stated in the petition that it had requested STAR to provide the Bouquet One of its offering, which the latter did not agree to. STAR currently offers its channels under two Bouquets – Bouquet One includes STAR Plus, STAR Movies, STAR News, STAR World, STAR Gold, Channel [v], National Geographic Channel, The History Channel and Vijay; Bouquet Two includes channels like STAR One, Hungama, The Disney Channel and Toon Disney.
The petitioner has claimed that STAR wanted its channels to be offered as a single bouquet and asked for a minimum guarantee to be paid against it from the digital service provider. DishTV has replied saying “as STAR is currently providing its service in two bouquets, it was impermissible and contrary to the statutory regulations – on the part of the Respondent STAR to offer its channels as a single bouquet on the DishTV platform,” it stated.
On the minimum guarantee front, DishTV has held that “DTH being addressable platform, the payment of the respondent STAR’s channels shall be made in respect of the actual number of subscribers availing STAR channels.”
At present, STAR Bouquet 1 is available at Rs 30 per subscriber per month, while the STAR Bouquet 2 is available at Rs 22 per subscriber per month (total Rs 52). STAR has also not responded to DishTV’s proposal that STAR’s channel be placed in the urban package only in three different packages.
When contacted, a DishTV official informed that STAR was denying them its bouquet of channels to avoid passing them the first mover advantage in the DTH game. “Though talks with STAR are on, but since it seems to be bearing no fruit, we decided to take legal recourse.” STAR is all set to launch its DTH venture – Space TV – along with the Tatas by the middle of this year.
On the One Alliance channels front, the official said, “We have received a positive order from TDSAT in this regard and even the Supreme Court has not stayed the order on further appeal. We are also at the final stage of negotiation with Sony in this regard and the bouquet will be included in DishTV offering within few weeks.”