SPN, Tata Sky continue to lock horns over channel drop

10 SPN channels, which have 97% viewership, are still available on Tata Sky, claim sources in Tata Sky. Sources in SPN say they are open to negotiations if Tata Sky is willing to renegotiate.

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Updated: Oct 4, 2018 8:57 AM

A day after Sony Pictures Network (SPN) issued a statement condemning Tata Sky for choosing to drop 22 SPN channels from its subscription, sources in Tata Sky claimed that the channels dropped barely comprise 3 per cent viewership.

“Ten SPN channels that have 97 per cent viewership are still available on Tata Sky. It’s true that we have not renewed the contract with the network, but channels are available to our subscribers as we have bought them as per the Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) available with TRAI,” claimed a reliable source who did not wish to be quoted.

SPN, however, claims that the channels discontinued include the likes of Sony Earth and Sony Mix which, as per TRPs, are mostly among the top three channels in their respective categories.

Sources in Tata Sky confirmed that TV Today channels, which were affected by the move, were back on the platform by Wednesday noon.

Industry sources claim that the dispute between the two started sometime in July when ahead of the renewal of its three-year contract with Tata Sky, SPN sought a hike in its monthly rates considering an increase in the subscriber base of the former in last three years.

“Tata Sky’s subscriber base has increased from 10 million to 16 million in the last three years, which means increased consumption. On the basis of this, we sought a hike in our monthly payment. Also, we must clarify that we never increased our channel rates as that is not permissible under TRAI regulations,” said the SPN spokesperson.

However, the increased rates were not acceptable to Tata Sky, which in turn discontinued the contract. Following this, Sony sent a notice to Tata Sky, asking for discontinuation of its channels from its operating system. However, to resolve the crisis, Tata Sky switched to al carte consumption of SPN channels instead of buying the network’s bouquet comprising 35 odd channels.

Sources claim that the move will cause significant advertising loss to SPN, considering the drop of its 22 channels from the bouquet. 

Earlier this week, SPN termed Tata Sky’s move as an “unfortunate event”. In a statement, SPN said, “Tata Sky unilaterally chose to drop 22 SPN channels from its subscription, even though SPN has not increased the rates of its channels.”

The statement further reads, “SPN channels are leaders in their genres and the network one of the most popular in the country. By unilaterally dropping the channels, Tata Sky is depriving it's viewers of the opportunity to watch world class entertainment and live sporting action. Further, by compelling existing subscriber to give separate ‘missed’ calls even to continue watching the SPN channels they have already paid for, Tata Sky is not acting in the consumers’ interest.”

Meanwhile, sources in SPN claim they are open to negotiations if Tata Sky is willing to renegotiate.

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