Cable TV

Kolkata MSOs to meet Star to resolve RIO rates issue on 28 October

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KOLKATA: Multi system operators (MSOs) in Kolkata are likely to meet Star India representatives on 28 October to discuss the issue of RIO rates as per the outcome of the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) order of putting Star India channels on a la carte.

On one hand, the package prices will go down by Rs 9, Rs 12 and Rs 16 respectively for different packages but cable TV consumers will have to spend an additional amount for watching their favourite Star channels if the MSOs put Star India channels on a la carte.

Siti Cable Kolkata director Suresh Sethiya says, “We are meeting Star India officials on 28 October to find a solution. The rates should be fashioned in such a way that the broadcaster does not lose revenue and at the same time, consumers do not have to shell out huge amounts to watch cable TV.”

Star Network comprising Star Plus, Star Jalsha, Star Movies, Star Sports, National Geographic and other channels, are likely to lose viewers if the MSOs remove the bouquet of Star channels from the packages and offer to subscribers on a-la-carte basis only, cable TV analysts claim.

Initially, almost all the MSOs in Kolkata had agreed to remove the channels on the Star Network from basic, smart and premium packages and had issued advertisements across major newspapers notifying consumers about the same. “The ground is not prepared for RIO rates. If Star India comes on a negotiation, it is good for the industry,” says Advance Multisystem Broadband Communication (AMBC) managing director Sujit Das.

While Manthan Broadband director Sudip Ghosh hopes that the negotiations between MSOs and Star Network would bear fruit.

Though Star India had mailed the change to MSOs on 30 September, MSOs have cited the festive season for delay in implementing it.

A source says, “Star Jalsha that currently reaches 100 per cent households here may lose around 40 per cent subscribers in a la carte as more than 50 per cent non-Bengali population in Kolkata would opt out.”

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