Cable TV

GTPL says Star Sports is simply acting tough

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MUMBAI: Indiantelevision.com earlier today reported on Star Sports Network filing eight FIRs against GTPL Hathway in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand for illegal transmission of its channels during the recently concluded India-West Indies test series.

But there's actually a battle royale brewing between the sportscaster and the MSO, if sources are to be believed, and that there's more to it than meets the eye.

On its part, GTPL Hathway says it is unaware of any FIRs, and a senior executive has issued a rejoinder to Star Sports allegations and the notices it has been publishing since October.

Says the GTPL Hathway executive: “We started switching off Star Sports channels in the areas which fall under DAS phase III from 16 October. It was after this that the channel put out a notice telling consumers that it will deactivate signals due to non-payment. The notice also stated that the consumers will be unable to watch Sachin play for the last time due to non-compliance by GTPL. It was just a way to malign our image and take awayconsumers. The channel started switching off signals from GTPL in the digitised areas in retaliation of our move to switch off signals in areas running on analogue signals."

GTPL says it is one of the first MSOs to implement digitisation in DAS phase III areas. “We have a large area to cover under digitisation and so we have already started the work. And it was due to this that we had to switch off some analogue channels to get more space for digital channels. The first option was Star Sports because the money that the network is asking is very high. Also in analogue, sport channels are carried on the last frequency and it is the last frequency that is required to be digitised first,” he informs.

The legal notice is nothing but a retaliation to this, feels the GTPL Hathway executive. GTPL has a valid agreement with the network till March 2014.

“The issues they have raised are frivolous. They are asking for subscriber reports, which is not relevant in our case, since we pay them the fixed amount for any number of subscribers," he explains. "As far as the outstanding fee is concerned, we have had outstanding amounts in the past as well, but then we have always cleared the dues. We have had payment plans with Star Sports, which were agreed upon, but now they are going against it.”

“It is just a move to get their channel started in the non-digital areas as well,” concludes the GTPL Hathway official.

Will GTPL Hathway give in to the alleged pressure tactics?

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