Cable TV

Kolkata MSOs to meet Star officials on 30 Oct, again

KOLKATA: The cable TV industry is on its way to some major changes. While the industry got a shock, after Star India decided to provide its channels to multi system operators (MSOs) only on the basis of Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO), the immediate reaction that came was of increased prices of cable TV services.

The decision of Star to provide channels on RIO, led to MSOs in Kolkata requesting for a meeting with the broadcaster in order to re-consider the decision as well as for increasing the time frame for implementation of RIO deals.

The meeting which took place on 28 October saw Star India officials proposing their incentive scheme, which the broadcaster had announced on 27 October, to the platform operators in the state. The incentives, as earlier reported by will be based on three criteria: the number of channels the MSO takes, the number of subscribers it distributes the channel to and the ease of access that it provides to the consumers for the Star channels.

 ?We will decide on Star?s incentive scheme in the next two-three days. We will do all the permutation and combination and then take a call on whether we should go with the incentive scheme or opt for normal RIO,? said Siti Cable Kolkata director Suresh Sethiya.

The city based MSOs, who do not want to lose their subscriber base, are currently working on the various modules of the proposed incentive and will meet the Star officials again on 30 October, after thoroughly reading the new scheme internally.  

Sethiya further said, ?Star has a bouquet of channels and if a cable TV home in Kolkata, does not wish to watch Marathi channels, he may not pay for it. We are working on the price.?

Another city-based MSO on condition of anonymity said that Star has offered an incentive of around 60 per cent for its Hindi GEC Life OK, 9 per cent for Star Plus and 15 per cent for Star Jhalsa.

Star Network comprising Star Plus, Life OK, Star Jhalsa, Star Movies, Star Sports, National Geographic among others, could lose its viewers in Kolkata, if the MSOs fail to offer the channels at an attractive price. ?The ground is not prepared for RIO rates. We will negotiate with Star on 30 October again,? said the MSO.

A local cable operator said that the customers are worried as they will have to pay a hefty price for cable TV services again in a short span of 10 months.

If the MSOs do not agree to the incentives being given by Star, based on the three conditions, the consumer could have to shell anywhere between Rs 35-40 for two Star channels, a source said adding that if the consumer wants more of the broadcasters? channels they will definitely have to pay more.

With most MSOs removing the Star channels from the different packages and providing the same on a-la-carte, the prices of the package will go down by Rs 9, Rs 12 and Rs18 respectively for their different packages.

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