IndiaCast vs DishTV: The final TDSAT order says it all

MUMBAI: Last week, there was a lot of brouhaha about the IndiaCast vs DishTV round of fisticuffs on the DTH operator's "on request channel service" and the former's flurry of ads in newspapers and on TV. Both sides claimed victory, saying the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had ruled in their favour. But there was no order in sight.

Today the TDSAT posted it on its web site, with he verdict pronounced by its chairman Aftab Alam. And here are the highlights: 

* The tribunal says that a legal objection cannot be taken to Dish TV’s arrangement of ‘on request channels’ which its counsel said would imply that from1 January 2014, 22 IndiaCast channels will be available only as a-la-carte out of its package. The deal with the other 16 channels shall come to an end on 31 March and from 1 April, they would also be treated similarly.

* The Dish TV counsel also clarified that the scroll running on IndiaCast channels shall from now on only say that those channels will be available on a-la-carte basis and people shall be asked to communicate through the SMS number mentioned on it in case they want to subscribe to any of them.

* IndiaCast counsel was requested to give an undertaking to the court that the ads published by its client against Dish TV shall stop. 

And with these statements, the TDSAT disposed off both the petitions. 

Who really won? It looks like each got its way, in some way, and the tribunal told them to cease firing.  But is it the last that we have seen of them bashing each other? Will they come together on the table and negotiate a deal? 

After all, the seven million subs of Dish TV are not to be sniffed away. And the absence of channels such as Colors on Dish TV pack can lead to customer attrition. History has shown that very few Indian customers go for a-la-carte channels. This will continue to be the case unless customers miraculously have a change in their consumption habits. Both IndiaCast and Dish TV might hold out for a while but we at  are betting on the duo reaching a settlement - sooner, than later. 

Click here for the full order

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