Telecom tribunal TDSAT on September 20, 2006 asked Zee-Turner, distributors of Zee and other channels, to provide signals of all 32 channels to Tata Sky, an 80:20 Tata-STAR DTH venture, for Rs 75.
“The respondent will supply signals of all the 32 channels to the petitioner subject to the petitioner paying 50 per cent of Rs 149.85 per subscriber per month. The respondents have agreed that supply of signals for all the 32 channels to the petitioner in terms of this order will be made within two days from today,” TDSAT said.
Tata Sky had filed case against the Zee Group in the first week of July, charging it with denial of its channels and putting exorbitant terms.
During the proceeding, Tata Sky had requested the tribunal to direct Zee-Turner to provide signals taking a middle path by fixing the subscription rate in between the price demanded by Zee and its proposed rate.
“With the festive season of Deepawali round the corner, when several entertainment programmes will be telecast, our consumer base would suffer because of non-availability of these feeds,” contended senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Tata Sky and requested the tribunal to give an urgent hearing.
“Any delay in this issue would ultimately hamper the commercial interest of this new venture,” he added.
Accepting the contention, TDSAT directed both Zee-Turner and Tata Sky to finish their pleadings before November.
However, the TDSAT Chairman rejected Tata Sky’s request to fix the charge by taking the middle path and made it clear that Tata Sky would have to pay Rs 75, the subscription fee demanded by Zee-Turner for its 32 channels.
Commenting on the development, Vikram Kaushik, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Sky Ltd, said, “Zee-Turner has undertaken before TDSAT to provide all of its 32 channels to Tata Sky within the next 48 hours. Our subscribers will now be able to enjoy over 100 quality television channels and eight interactive services. This reiterates our commitment to provide our subscribers with a truly world class satellite television service.”
“We were always keen to provide our channels to Tata Sky, but since they wanted to take only selective channels and were not willing to pay the price that we had quoted, the case was brought to TDSAT. But now since TDSAT in its interim order has asked Tata Sky to take all our 32 channels at Rs 75 we would be happy to provide our services to Tata Sky. We are happy with TDSAT’s order and would comply by it,” Zee Turner said in a statement.
Zee Turner is a 74:26 joint venture between Zee Telefilms and Turner International India, a sister company of Time Warner.