Tdsat restrains Star Den from distributing TV18 channels in interim order

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Appelate Tribunal (Tdsat) today restrained Star Den from representing itself as an agent of TV18 with effect from 13 August.

Tdsat Chairperson Justice SB Sinha and members GD Gaiha and PK Rastogi gave their interim order in the case filed by Television18 India Ltd against Star Den Services.

Earlier in the morning in a cross petition filed by Star Den, Tdsat refused to give any interim relief.

TV18 had approached Tdsat requesting an order restraining Star Den Media Services from distributing and marketing its channels.
In its petition, TV18 requested Tdsat to direct Star Den to remove all marketing content - such as bouquets, advertisements and information about the broadcasting group‘s channels - from its website. TV18 also asked the tribunal to direct Star Den to clear its dues.

Earlier this week, Tdsat had issued notice to Star Den on the petition. TV18 had on 13 July issued notice to Star Den terminating their channel distribution contracts.

The Tribunal had also given a time of two weeks for filing a reply to Star Den, a 50:50 joint venture between Star India and Den Networks for distribution of TV channels.

According to the broadcaster, which airs channels like CNN-IBN, IBN7, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC TV18, Star Den has breached the terms of their agreement and was treating its channels in a discriminatory manner.

"From the rates and the revenue allocation percentage attributable to Fox International Channels (FIC), it is evident that the same are discriminatory vis-a-vis said channels of the petitioner," TV18 said.

Fox International Channels, owned by Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp, were added to the Star Den bouquet from 1 April 2010. 
TV 18 said that addition of FIC‘s channel in Star Den‘s bouquet was in violation of their agreement. As per the terms and conditions, Star Den was to inform TV18 on addition of any new channels in its bouquet.

"The FIC channels were added to the Star Den bouquet from 1 April and the respondent (Star Den) wrote to them on 7 April, seeking consent of the petitioner (TV18) on the same," the broadcaster alleged.

Counsel for Star Den said it was prepared to put FIC channels in a different bouquet, but counsel for TV18 said his clients had "lost all faith" in the distributor.

TV18 further asserted that its distribution contracts with Star Den have already been terminated and the distributor was no longer its agent.

Network18 has formed a joint venture with South-based broadcaster Sun TV, dubbed Sun 18, to distribute its channels. Television Eighteen wants distribution of its channels through Sun18.

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