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Tatas to meet I&B officials on DTH

13-July-2004
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Tatas to meet I&B officials on DTH

After STAR CEO Michelle Guthrie’s recent visit, it’s the turn of the Tata group officials to push their direct-to-home (DTH) case. Senior representatives of Tata Sons are expected to meet information and broadcasting ministry officials this week, to discuss Space TV’s pending application. Space TV is a 80:20 joint venture between the Tatas and STAR for a DTH broadcasting project.

Last week, during their meeting in the capital, government officials are understood to have told Ms Guthrie that they needed some more time to look into the Tata-STAR DTH application, according to sources. Ms Guthrie had refused to speak to the media after meeting I&B minister S Jaipal Reddy and senior ministry officials. Also, when contacted, other STAR officials said that Mr Reddy and Ms Guthrie did not discuss DTH.

Meanwhile, sources pointed out that the I&B minister referred to the controversial issue of broadcasters’ reluctance to share content on the DTH platform, while speaking to Ms Guthrie. As is known, both STAR and Sony Entertainment Television do not offer their content to the DTH platform of the Zee group. A couple of months ago, the I&B ministry had asked STAR as to why it was reluctant to offer its channels to Zee group’s DTH platform, which was launched last year. Even the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has been examining the issue of content-sharing on DTH.

Among other things, I&B officials had discussed the Radio City issue with the STAR team a few days ago, sources indicated. The government sees violation of FM radio policy in STAR subsidiary, Digiwave, supplying content to Radio City, a station licensed to the Ispat group. While I&B officials arg-ued that Digiwave was a shell company supporting Radio City financially and for content, they said DTH clearance was not linked to FM radio.

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