TDSAT has asked Tata Sky to make payments of subscription charges to ESPN on the basis of SMS (subscriber management system) reports of number of subscribers from October 1, 2008. The case has been listed for hearing on February 24, 2009.
TDSAT Bench chairperson, Justice Arun Kumar, said, “We clarify that the arrears of subscription charges with respect to months of June, July, August, and September 2008 will be decided at the time of the final hearing. Meanwhile, from October 1, 2008, the petitioner, Tata Sky, will pay subscription charges to the respondent, ESPN, on the basis of SMS reports of number of subscribers.”
Both Tata Sky and ESPN will follow TDSAT interim order of July 24, wherein the Tribunal had allowed the DTH operator to beam the sportscaster’s channels on a la carte basis after discharging it from an undertaking submitted before the Delhi High Court.
In July 2008, Tata Sky and ESPN had reached a conclusion with the broadcast Tribunal allowing Tata Sky to beam ESPN’s channels on a la carte basis, based on the choice of the DTH operator’s customers and as per the rules and regulations. This apart, TDSAT also directed Tata Sky to pay the due amount to ESPN for its three channels till May 31 within 10 days. TDSAT had, thus, relieved Tata Sky from an undertaking submitted before the Delhi High Court on June 6, 2008, where the DTH operator had stated that they would carry all channels of ESPN in the basic pack.
In addition, TDSAT had ordered Tata Sky to pay the due amount to ESPN till May 31 within 10 days. ESPN was then claiming due of Rs 70 crore from Tata Sky, with whom its subscription agreement had expired on March 15.
On September 29, 2008, Tata Sky has submitted before the TDSAT that it would continue to provide free signals of ESPN-STAR Group channels as part of its basic package till November 2008.
“Counsel for the respondent (Tata Sky) clarifies that the respondent would continue to offer three free channels – ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket – to those subscribers who enrolled six months prior to June 1, 2008, up to November 30, 2008,” said the TDSAT Bench while admitting Tata Sky’s submission.
Tata Sky agrees to offer ESPN-STAR channels in basic package till November