Prasar Bharati has not allowed the Subhash Chandra-promoted direct-to-home (DTH) platform to carry the signals of Doordarshan, which holds the exclusive rights to the Australia-India series. Dish TV, in turn, has asked its subscribers to tune to the national broadcaster's free DTH service. This seems to be just the beginning of clash between broadcasters on the issue of sharing of channels.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) proposal of asking broadcasters to compulsorily provide their signals to all platforms — be it cable, direct-to-home or broadband does not seem to have gone down well with them.
The industry is a divided lot with one set of broadcasters opposing this move. "Content is the key differentiator for the DTH platform. The `must provide' clause will only lead to a loss of exclusivity. Broadcasters spend a lot of money in acquiring rights to movies and sporting events. And it is this exclusive event which will drive the channel and the DTH bouquet," said an official.
Others like Zee have been pushing for compulsory sharing of content. They believe that content should not be denied and that this could be made available on a commercial basis. Meanwhile, the free-to-air (FTA) channels have also expressed concern over the must provide clause, since they believe that the cable operators have been demanding high carriage fees.
The pay broadcasters are also concerned about the freeze in cable rates, which are likely to be revised by the end of the year as well as the issue of rates for new pay channels.
The members of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) met here on Thursday and have decided to put their views on the CAS paper before the Government. "We will individually study the proposals and then go to the Government," said an IBF source.