Talks between ESPN Software India (ESS) and IndusInd Media & Communications’ cable arm, Incable Net over the signing of the new annual contract for the year 2004 have failed.
After a marathon negotiating session lasting over four days, Incable Net has yet to subscribe to ESPN Star Sports services. Thus, the broadcaster would hence switch off the services to the cable service operator.
Sricharan Iyendgar, VP-Affiliate Sales, ESPN Software, says, “Yes, Incable Net has not yet signed the new contract with us and therefore we will not be able to continue with our services to them. We reached an agreement with Incable Net on the payment aspect but, considering the problems we faced with them last year on the payment front, we asked for some kind of security on the payment. They are not agreeing for it. Therefore the talks have failed on this aspect.”
Sharmila Banerjee, spokesperson for Incable Net, in her response says, “We did reach an agreement on the commercial rates, but ESPN made certain other unreasonable demands which according to us has never been made in this industry. Therefore, we have been unable to reach a consensus on the issue.”
It was only recently on January 3, 2004 that ESPN had addressed a letter to Incable Net reminding them to sign the new contract. ESS had given the cable company a deadline of 5 p.m. on Sunday January 4, 2004 for reverting on the issue failing which it said, “We Shall be constraint to take all necessary and relevant steps.” Since then, the two companies have been in talks. And finally on January 8, their talks have failed.
Amidst all this drama, Incable Net’s million viewers are bound to suffer. After the India-Australia test match series, cricket fans have been waiting for the next live coverage of the One-Day Triangular Series between India-Australia and Zimbabwe beginning January 9, 2004. Each team will play the other two teams four times in the league matches before the top two teams lock horns in a 3-match final from February 6 to 10.