No relief for Sun Direct in ESPN case on HD feed

MUMBAI: Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun Direct received a setback today as the Supreme Court declined to stay broadcast tribunal Tdsat’s order against it in a case relating to a dispute with sports broadcaster ESPN Sports.

Sun Direct had filed a petition in the apex court challenging the order by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) wherein it had asked the DTH player to cough up Rs 25 million to sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports for Hi-Definition Feed (HDF) of two special sporting events.
Hearing the petition today, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia declined to interfere in the order passed by the tribunal and asked Sun Direct to pay Rs 25 million.

Disagreeing to Sun Direct’s submission that the cost was not reasonable in comparison to the normal cable rates, the court noted that cost of HDF appears to be very high and has to be different.

It also said that “Tata Sky has already paid and what was the problem with you". 
The Court, however, said it would hear Sun Direct‘s plea against 24 per cent interest imposed by the tribunal on it and issued notice to ESPN.

On 16 December, Tdsat had ordered Tata Sky and Sun Direct to pay ESS at the rate of Rs 25 million for the telecast of soccer World Cup and Wimbledon in HD format.

Tdsat had maintained that Tata Sky had already paid a partial sum of Rs 17.7 million while Sun Direct has not paid any sum. It, thus, directed that Sun Direct should pay interest at the rate of 24 per cent per annum on the due amount. It also noted that two other DTH operators had already agreed and paid the sum of Rs 25 million for the two events.

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