In a significant ruling, which will have a long term impact on the pricing of channels for the DTH platform, TDSAT has backed sports broadcaster ESPN. Nanju Ganpathy, Counsel for ESPN Software India said, “TDSAT has accepted ESPN’s contention that 50 per cent discount should be given only when the channel is being viewed by all or at least a majority of the DTH operator’s subscriber base.”
ESPN’s main contention that the 50 per cent discount norm for DTH operators laid down by TDSAT was in cases where the channels were placed in basic packages and were going to the majority of the DTH operator’s subscriber base. However, when a DTH operator places channels in add-on packages, channels no longer have the majority viewership exposure as enjoyed by them in cable platforms. Therefore, such broadcasters should not be forced to give discounts as high as 50 per cent to the DTH operators.
“We are also glad that the Tribunal has also directed TRAI not to take any action pursuant to TRAI’s direction to the sports broadcaster, requiring it to offer its channels to DTH operators at 50 per cent discounted rate,” Ganpathy further said.