Technology

TataSky not obliged to carry all 32 Zee channels: TDSAT













NEW DELHI: In a significant judgment that will impact the entire DTH industry, TDSAT today asked Zee Turner to make available 19 channels from its bouquets 1 and 2, observing also that Zee has not been able to convince it about a regulatory obligation of "must carry" on DTH operators.


The sector tribunal further ruled that the DTH player is well within its rights to demand only 19 channels out of the 32 in the Bouquets 1 and 2 offered by Zee.

 

Calling this an "explosive" decision, TataSky‘s legal experts asserted that this is a crushing defeat for Zee, which has been "trying to thrust all its channels on us".


The major issue of "must carry" has not been opined upon by the judges, as they made clear in their judgment, but legal circles here are abuzz over the implications that no broadcaster now can try to force a DTH player to take "all or none", and hence, the must carry contention, which had been one of major Zee‘s arguments, is not an obligation as per this decision.

 

The court, importantly, has held that in the interests of consumers being given full choice, no DTH operator can be forced to carry all the channels of all the broadcasters, because of constraints of transponder space, a major issue so long hanging fire.


The court has also asked Trai once again to fix tariff of channels on DTH platforms.


It has asked Zee Turner to supply signals of these 19 channels to TataSky at 50 per cent of the price the broadcaster offers to the cable operators, and has directed Trai once more to fix the channel tariffs for the DTH operators, a persistent TataSky demand in the present case arguments.


TDSAT has virtually demolished the arguments of Zee, especially on the issue of what the latter stated was a "must carry provision" inherent in the Trai regulations.

Zee had raised the point that clause 7.6 of the regulation implied that there is in place a "must carry" provision, which made it mandatory for the DTH players to carry all the channels a broadcaster has on offer in all its bouquets put together, which TataSky had disputed.


In its final ruling, TDSAT has said that so far as the case in hand is concerned, the issue of must carry did not arise.


However, its observations on Zee‘s arguments are scathing.


"We are unable to read a ‘must carry‘ provision in clause 7.6. A plain reading of clause 7.6 suggests that the obligation is cast on a Licensee to provide access to various content providers / channels on a nondiscriminatory basis.


"As per this clause, therefore, the Licensee is not the seeker of channels. The broadcasters or the content providers have to approach the Licensee for providing access on its platform for their channels and then the Licensee is required to do so on a nondiscriminatory basis."


This is exactly what senior counsel for TataSky, Ramji Srinivas, had stressed in the last phase of his arguments.


"This clause also does not say that a Licensee must carry all the channels of a particular content provider. Therefore, we are unable to see how an argument that a Licensee must carry all the channels of a broadcaster can be, advanced on the basis of the provision contained in clause 7.6 of the Licence," the court said.


"Further, it must be noted that the interpretation suggested by the learned counsel for the respondent in clause 7.6 of the Licence is totally irrational because it overlooks the fact that it will choke the DTH operator if it has to carry all the channels of every broadcaster.


"A DTH operator naturally will provide access to every broadcaster because every broadcaster is supposed to have some popular channels which a DTH operator is likely to include on its platform.


"If a DTH operator has to take all the channels of every broadcaster, it may not be physically possible to do so. Moreover, if every channel has to be taken it means that it will have to be paid for.


"This will increase the cost for the DTH operator. Ultimately, the cost will get passed on to the consumer. If DTH becomes expensive, consumers will keep away from it. It will not be able to compete with CAS or cable. Thus, such an interpretation of clause 7.6 may be anti consumer," the court observed.


While these are the issues that will impact the entire DTH industry and its relations with the broadcasters, the specifics of the TataSky versus Zee Turner case, which centred around the latter insisting that TataSky was obliged to take all its 32 channels, the court ruled in favour of the latter.


"… during the course of hearing we repeatedly asked the counsel appearing for respondents, if there is any documentary evidence to show that Zee Turner had offered 32 channels comprising five bouquets to the petitioner at any time before the TDSAT judgment dated 14th July, 2006 in Petition No.136 (C ) of 2006 ASC Enterprises Ltd. vs. Star India Private Ltd..


"The learned counsel was frank enough to state that there was none," the court stated after review of all relevant letters and Emails exchanged between the parties over the period of dispute.


"The parties have placed before us a bulky record but there is nothing therein which supports this argument being advanced by counsel for respondents that Zee Turner was offering 32 channels to the petitioner during negotiations prior to the judgment of this Tribunal dated 14th July, 2006.


"There is complete silence as to when 19 channels of respondent 1 became 32. It appears that respondents got wiser after the TDSAT judgment, believing that on its basis the DTH operator could be asked to take all the channels which the broadcaster had to offer.


"Reason for us to think so is that in the short reply filed in these proceedings on 24th July, 2006, the respondent 1 for the first time stated that it was authorized to provide signals of 32 channels at a rate of Rs 149.85 excluding taxes.


"The sequence of events clearly shows that after the said judgment of this Tribunal of 14 July 2006 the respondents for the first time started saying that they were authorized for 32 channels as they wanted to thrust all the 32 channels on the petitioner," the court stated.


The court finally ruled: "As a result of the above discussion, this petition is allowed and we direct the respondents to provide signals for 19 channels forming part of bouquets 1 and 2 of respondent 1 to petitioner.


"We further direct respondent 1 to provide these signals to the petitioner on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms which should include charges at 50 per cent of the declared list price of respondent 1 for these 19 channels.


"We also declare that respondents have defaulted in providing signals to the petitioner on nondiscriminatory basis."

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/04/sanjeev.jpg?itok=jSKv0oLN
Pune Times joins hands with the Pune Police to launch the 'City Safe' app, as part of #MakeMyCitySafe initiative

Pune Times, city supplement of leading media house, The Times of India, has joined hands with Pune Police to support an initiative for women’s safety in the city. Pune Times has launched its campaign #MakeMyCitySafe as a big shout out to the youth of Pune to come together to make the city safer...

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/06/Navanit-Samaiyar_0.jpg?itok=fQLjKjss
HAL Robotics ropes in Navanit Samaiyar as board member and advisor

MUMBAI: HAL Robotics has roped in Navanit Samaiyar as its board member and advisor. Samaiyar has a record of setting up, scaling and transforming businesses across a very wide cross section of industries spanning from IT/ ITeS to steel, telecom, engineering goods, earthmoving machinery, logistics...

Technology Hardware Components
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/07/Arnab-Goswami.jpg?itok=VUCIzU8A
Republic TV launches Android app

MUMBAI: Republic TV is on a roll. From rocking the ratings chart in launch week itself to going international, the channel has added one more accomplishment to its kitty. The Republic TV Android app is now live.

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/11/STB.jpg?itok=WsiaUBr8
STB cos in India, China enhancing features, providing customised solutions, Technavio enlists top vendors

MUMBAI: The global STB market is characterised by intense competition as the market is saturated in developed countries. The market share of these players is declining because of the entry of new players. The STB companies are enhancing the features of STBs and providing customised solutions to...

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/09/PFT.jpg?itok=VJugic3c
India's PFT Clear Media ERP suite to help US' PBS content delivery

MUMBAI: Prime Focus Technologies (PFT), the technology arm of Prime Focus, announced that its CLEAR™ Media ERP Suite has been selected by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to enhance their Network Operations Center (NOC) ecosystem efficiencies and sustainability, with the objective of reducing...

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/09/JosephSiino.jpg?itok=doyka7Tg
Broadcasters, OTTs to gain as Via adds xHE-AAC at special rate

MUMBAI: Via Licensing Corporation, a intellectual property solutions provider, has announced the upcoming availability of Extended High Efficiency AAC (xHE-AAC) as part of the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) patent pool. The expanded patent pool licence will be available at no additional cost to...

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/06/Brian_Morris-Colin_Smith.jpg?itok=xVBB0KbV
Tata Comm to deliver Motorsport videos on global devices

MUMBAI: Tata Communications will now deliver video content for Motorsport.tv viewers' all devices over its global network. The two have partnered to power the growth of the network’s internet television platforms.

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/06/ChyronHego_0.jpg?itok=qWRkJ4jh
How to create live video content sans pros, convert radio broadcast into visual show

MUMBAI: ChyronHego will be showcasing its live production, automation solutions at Broadcast India show in Mumbai in mid-October.

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/03/Arvin%20patel%20tivo.jpg?itok=Ieo7eXfw
Sony renews IP licence deal with TiVo

MUMBAI: TiVo Corporation, a leader in entertainment technology and audience insights, has announced that Sony Corporation, a leader in consumer electronics, has renewed its multi-year intellectual property (IP) licence agreement. The license to TiVo’s patent portfolios covers all of Sony’s...

Technology Software Applications

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories