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Star Sports plays hard ball with Siti Cable

MUMBAI: Star Sports has come out with a pan India notice against India's Multisystem operator Siti Cable. The notice that was issued in select newspapers on 15 November as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines has hauled up the multiple system operator (MSO) on several grounds.

“A huge outstanding and non-signing of agreement in both DAS as well as non-DAS markets are the two major reasons for this notice,” says Star Sports India COO Vijay Rajput.  “I would like to point out here that Siti Cable has not submitted subscriber reports for any of the DAS I and DAS II markets.  Also there have been instances of piracy. Earlier in October, we had filed an FIR against Siti Vision Digital, a joint venture unit of Siti Cable Network at Saifabad police station in Hyderabad, for illegal transmission of the Star Sports channels."

 The sports network has come out heavily against Siti Cable for not playing with a straight bat.   “We have been following up with Siti Cable for all these issues but have not received a favorable response from its  officials. Therefore, as per the law of the land we have issued a 21 day public notice. We will avail all options available to us if in case Siti Cable fails to resolve the stated issues within the stipulated period,” adds Rajput.

 Star Sports had earlier played hardball with GTPL and yanked its channels off the cable network. Now it's the turn of Siti Cable. Rajput says that he has been forced to take these steps. “These are the two specific cases that we are trying to address primarily due to non-payment and non-renewal of agreements.”

 So what is it that Siti Cable plans to do post this notice? Answers Siti Cable chief operating officer Anil Malhotra, “Well, this is a regular practice adopted by every broadcaster as per the TRAI regulation, when an agreement is about to end or has ended. The notice is a precursor to negotiation.”

 Malhotra claims that his cable network is already intalks with the sports channel for the renewal of contract. “We had signed the agreement last year in October-November. So the agreement is due for renewal and, so, this notice. We will amicably resolve the issue.”

Star Sports says it is ready to revisit the matter if the MSO resolves the issues in the set deadline.

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