The uneasy truce between India’s 100-odd satellite TV channels is over. The rift within the Rs 12,920-crore industry has come out in the open after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) asked the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) for its views on three subjects:
• matters of mandating conditional access systems,
• carriage of free-to-air channels, their rates and advertising,
• platform carriage including denial of signal to operators.
The split influences the way 100-million homes watch cable TV. Rattled by protest e-mails, IBF, the umbrella body of TV broadcasters, has made a clean breast of “serious differences among members.” CEOs of Discovery, ESPN Star and Sony Entertainment have said that ‘each one to his own’ is better than endorsing a 10-page common draft written by an IBF sub-committee that included other CEOs. Sony’s Kunal Dasgupta has said that “there are serious differences within the IBF.” ESPN’s RC Venkateish sees “little point in presenting different viewpoints.”
IBF secretary-general NP Nawani has called an in-camera meeting of his board, including CEOs of Prasar Bharti, Star, Zee, Sony, Discovery, TV Today, Eenadu, Sun, TV-18, etc., here on Tuesday afternoon.