Cable TV

Hathway - MSM Media Distribution resolve differences, end dispute

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MUMBAI: Multi system operator (MSO) Hathway Cable & Datacom and Multi Screen Media’s distribution arm MSM Media Distribution (MSMMD) have finally put an end to their very public dispute.

 

Hathway subscribers in phase I and II were greeted with a scrolling message on their screens, which informed them about restoration of MSM channels.

 

Commenting on the development, a senior Hathway spokesperson told Indiantelevision.com, “We have mutually agreed to renew our deal with MSM in DAS and analogue markets post a meeting yesterday. The MSM bouquet channels have been reinstated in our packages.”

 

It all started on 14 August when Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had directed Hathway to pay Rs 14.56 crore towards subscription dues to MSMMD for DAS Phase I till the expiry of the agreement i.e. 31 October, 2015 in three instalments.

 

Hathway in reply to that said that it will not renew the contract with MSMMD for DAS phase II. It may be recalled that this contract between the two expired on 31 March, 2015 and was not renewed by Hathway then.

 

Commenting on the entire development a senior media observer said, “It’s good that both Hathway and MSM Media have kept the interests of cable TV subscribers in mind and ironed out their differences. A lesson to be learnt from their dispute and the resolution thereafter is that MSOs, DTH players and broadcast networks need to refrain from washing their dirty linen in public. Commercial disputes between two parties need to be resolved behind closed doors and not in the public glare of the media. Using the media for one’s own ends only sends out a bad signal that the industry has yet to mature to government, the regulator and potential investors in India’s video and broadband distribution sector.”

 

Speaking to this website, Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) president Arvind Prabhu said, “It’s a great move firstly for consumers and secondly for the ecosystem. We are glad that they sorted it out amongst themselves. Having said so, we are now waiting to see how Sony or Hathway compensate the mental and commercial losses of last mile operators (LMOs). Huge number of cable subscribers have shifted to DTH during the dispute. We have given a representation to Hathway from the Aurangabad association but if they don’t do anything, we will go to TDSAT. The ecosystem needs mutual understandings, stakeholders should not let the subscribers suffer because of their individual benefits.”

 

At the time of filing this report, MSMMD spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

 

For the time being Hathway subscribers who missed out Messi and Ronaldo dribbling their way through to the nets can enjoy the highlights and wait for the weekend to catch some live LA Liga and Italian Serie A action on Sony Six and Kix for the first time this season. The sports expertise of MSM acquired the broadcasting rights of the two flagship football tournaments this year but before the commencement of the season the two stakeholders landed into dispute which resulted in fans missing the matches.

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