Tariff War: Star India asks Airtel subscribers to switch, Airtel assures customers of IPL broadcast

Star India, in a Twitter post, claims that it has not increased channel tariffs. Airtel Digital TV says they are shocked at the “malicious, misleading and defamatory campaign based on blatant lies run by Star TV”

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 26, 2018 8:56 AM

The fight between DTH operator Airtel Digital and Star India over tariff hike has taken an ugly turn. The broadcaster has reached out to the subscribers asking them to discontinue Airtel subscription and switch to new DTH/ cable operator. Whereas Airtel Digital said it has ensured that the customers will have access to live sporting events, including the upcoming IPL 2018.

Star India, in a Twitter post on March 23, stated, “Attention Airtel Digital TV subscribers! Star has not increased channel tariffs. Airtel Digital TV is misleading you and unilaterally increasing the prices of Star channels. To continue watching high-quality Star entertainment switch to new DTH/cable operator now.”

The network has also released a video that claims that the DTH operator is charging Rs 1,000 for Star HD channels instead of Rs 200. The video suggest six DTH/cable operators (such as Tata Sky, Hathway, Sun Direct, DEN, GTPL and Fastway) that subscriber can switch to.

As per media reports, the reason for the spat between Airtel Digital and Star India is that Star India has demanded a hike in the distribution deal ahead of IPL, which Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV have denied.

In response to Star India’s comment, Airtel also released an official statement on March 25, saying that they are shocked at the “malicious, misleading and defamatory campaign based on blatant lies run by Star TV.”

“There is no truth whatsoever, Star TV’s assertion that Airtel Digital TV is unilaterally increasing prices of Star TV channels across its pack. We urge customers and public at large not to fall for these lies.”

In its official statement Airtel mentioned: It's public knowledge that Star TV recently made a massive bid to acquire exclusive rights to a popular sporting event and is now left with no option but to arm-twist and extract the sunk cost from DTH/cable operators and advertisers. The fact is that Star TV is demanding unreasonable hike in rates from Airtel Digital TV. Passing on such a steep hike to our customers in the form of higher pack rates is not an option for us. Since Star TV has taken such an unreasonable stand, Airtel has been forced to take Star channels on RIO basis at a high cost.

Airtel said that customers is a priority for them and they will protect them from any price shocks and not disrupt their TV viewing experience. The DTH operator said it has decided to absorb majority of the hike in rates by Star TV and made following changes to its packs:

All key Standard Definition (SD) channels from STAR network will continue to be available to Airtel Digital TV customers as part of their existing packs (no price increase). Airtel will bear the higher cost of these channels. Customers can go to channel number 102 on Airtel Digital TV or www.airtel.in/dthinfo to get complete details of how to activate these channels.

We have also ensured that our customers have continued access to live sporting events, including the upcoming IPL 2018. Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi would be available to all eligible consumers, Airtel said.

Popular High Definition (HD) channels from Star TV will also be available as part of select packs. Other HD channels from Star TV will be available on the a-la-carte basis and Airtel Digital TV will only charge customers what Star TV is charging it, not a rupee more.

Meanwhile, Zee TV is also asking DEN subscribers to switch to a new cable operator. Exchange4media had earlier reported that Zee was unhappy with DEN for transmitting the channels in unencrypted and non-addressable mode. The piracy of channels through DTH set top box are not only adversely impacting the broadcasters but also causing revenue loss to the public exchequer, it was stated. 

In an advertisement, Zee TV has urged the customers to ask for Rs 30-60 refund from DEN due to reduction in numbers of channels. The advertisement also tells customers to ask DEN for your favourite Zee channels, which are available on a-la-carte basis, or switch to other service provider and get Zee channels in your regular monthly pack.

 #MakeTheSwitch pic.twitter.com/ny8LmmDmdF










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