Star India issues disconnection notice to Videocon D2h

Star India, which recently won the rights to the Indian Premier League by offering to pay a whopping Rs 16,348 cr over five years, has issued a disconnection notice to Videocon D2h DTH service.

This follows a similar warning issued to users of Tata Sky and Airtel Digital — India’s biggest TV content distributors by subscribers and revenue.

While the issue with Tata Sky seems to have been resolved, Airtel Digital was forced to approach the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) earlier this month to prevent Star India from carrying out its disconnection threat. The tribunal gave more time to Airtel Digital to enter into a negotiated settlement, directed it to clear past dues and asked Star not to disconnect the feeds.

Besides the above, Zee Group’s Dish TV is also reported to be dragging its heels on agreeing to Star’s renewed rates. Incidentally, Videocon D2h is the final stages of merging with Dish TV.

The problem, according to DTH sources, is related to Star India’s demand for a higher-than-usual hike in the subscription charges paid by DTH providers this year.

Star, recently acquired by Walt Disney Co, is India’s largest broadcasting company and has over 60 channels, most of which are found on all DTH platforms.

DTH and cable companies typically enter into the so-called negotiated settlements under which they agree to pay a certain amount of money to the channel owner in return for allowing them to distribute the channels to their subscribers.

The amount of money so agreed is usually a fraction of the office price of these channels that channel owners put up on their websites.

If the content maker and the distributor fail to reach an agreement, the DTH or cable company must pay the full, official price.

In case of Airtel and Videocon D2h, Star India has claimed that the companies have not signed a renewed subscription agreement, and therefore, its signals are liable to be blocked to these distributors.

Under the law, all channel owners must provide their signals to all cable and DTH companies if they are ready to pay the official price listed on the website.

Among the channels mentioned in the disconnection notice are Star Sports, Star Movies, Star Plus and Vijay TV.