In a setback to the DTH foray of Sun Network, promoted by the Maran brothers, cable TV operators across Tamil Nadu staged protests on September 21 after Sun announced the launch of DTH services, Sun Direct, in the state.
The Sun Network in advertisements put up in the media stated that those who registered early would be given free antennas and set-top boxes (STBs). According to the advertisement, Sun Direct would offer 75 channels and 15 FM channels for a monthly subscription of Rs 75, much lower than the subscription fee of other DTH operators.
The announcement sparked off instant protest from cable operators, who said that Sun TV’s DTH services, operated through its multi-system operator Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), would deprive them of their livelihood. A large number of cable TV operators staged a demonstration in front of Sun TV headquarters in Chennai.
According to reports, cables laid by Sumangali Vision were snapped at nearly 200 places in the city. Apart from burning copies of the ads issued by the Sun Network announcing the launch of Sun Direct, the miffed cable TV operators also threatened that that they would black out all the 20 Sun Network channels.
A newspaper quoted TNCTOA President P Sakilan as saying that Sun TV’s claim of offering 75 television channels and 15 FM radio channels for Rs 75 a month and distributing free dish antenna and STBs was impossible to implement.