Dish TV shoots off letter to IBF; alleges discrimination by b’casters, OTT platforms


NEW DELHI: In a move that’s certain to set the cat amongst the pigeons, Dish TV, one of India’s biggest satellite platform in terms of subscribers, has not only accused broadcasters of  “discrimination” relating to making available content to various pay distribution platforms vis-à-vis likes of OTT, but also “creating huge disparity” in the market.

“Broadcasters, on one hand, keep on charging huge subscription fee from us and, on the other hand, provide the same content/channel to the OTT platforms at highly subsidized rates, thereby not only creating a non-level field, but also causing huge detriment to the subscribers of Dish TV. Availability of same content/channel on alternate distribution platform on much cheaper rate vis-a-vis DTH has started resulting into migration to the alternate distribution platforms,” Dish TV has said in a letter to the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, an apex body of TV channels or broadcasting companies operating in India.

The Dish TV letter dated 11 August 2017, reviewed by Indiantelevision.com, goes on to highlight why the move of TV channels to turn FTA, join Doordarshan’s free-to-air DTH platform DD FreeDish after paying a carriage fee, and making available content at highly subsided rates to OTT platforms like YouTube and that being proposed by Reliance Jio slides the Indian television market’s business model to be largely advertising driven.

“It is a common industry knowledge that the broadcasters have provided their channels to the OTT platforms at a highly discounted rates, which is totally prejudicial and discriminatory to the DTH platforms,” the Dish TV letter stated, which has also been sent to the DTH Association of India and the All India Digital Cable Federation, a body of digitally-able MSOs.

The letter from Dish TV, written by the satellite platform’s managing director Jawahar Goel, is addressed to IBF president Punit Goenka, who also is Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited MD and CEO, and a nephew of Goel. Goenka’s father and media baron Subhash Chandra is a member of India’s Upper House or Rajya Sabha.

 According to people familiar with the development, IBF’s member-companies have been asked to give their feedback on the content of the letter, which could be put to vote some time mid-September.

“The IBF constitutes of seven major members, viz. Star, Zee, Sony, IndiaCast, Sun (TV group), Discovery and Times, which not only control the IBF but also are the major players collecting the subscription and advertisement revenue--- collecting more than 99 per cent of the subscription and advertisement revenue of the Indian broadcasting industry,” the letter stated, adding that actions of the broadcasters “clearly indicate” the focus was shifting towards increasing the advertising revenue against subscription revenue.

Raising the issue of sector regulator TRAI and disputes tribunal TDSAT’s emphasis on "fairness, reasonability and non-discrimination” as far as making available content to distribution platforms,  Dish TV pointed out that strategies employed by broadcasters were “deterrent to the pay TV market.”

Pointing out that certain actions of the broadcasters could amount to breach of cross-media restrictions too, the letter exhorted the IBF members to discuss “whether the emphasis has to be on pay model (where the broadcasters can collect subscription) or an FTA model (where the broadcasters can get the advertisement revenue)”.

Till the time of writing this report, Indiantelevision.com could not get across to IBF for a reaction.

“Availability of same content/channel on alternate distribution platform on much cheaper rate vis-a-vis DTH rate has started resulting in(to) migration to the alternate distribution platforms,” the letter highlighted, adding that big broadcasters’ own OTT platforms (like Star’s Hotstar, Viacom18’s Voot, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s SonyLIV and Zee’s dittoTV, for example) also contributed to compounding the problem.

The letter added: “It will be critical for your (IBF) members to spell out the strategy to hold/grow the pay TV market, which has been contributing to around 35-40 per cent of the total revenue of the pay broadcasters.”

However, it seems that the present slew of letters from Dish TV and accusations will again rock the approximately Rs 558  billion Indian media and entertainment industry, which had thought corporate skirmishes of mid 1990s to mid 2000s had been buried in favour of overall growth of the broadcast and cable sectors and the media and entertainment industry, in general.


Jawahar Goel raises alarm of emerging Star cricket monopoly

Latest Reads

Tata Sky to offer revised channel prices, packs from 23 April

Leading direct-to-home (DTH) opertator Tata Sky's subscribers will have access to broadcasters' revised channel prices from 23 April.

DTH DTH Operator
Sun Direct rolls out special South DPO Pack 4

DTH player Sun Direct is rolling out a bundle of both paid and free to air (FTA) South channels priced at Rs 419 per month, amid the new TRAI tariff order.

DTH DTH Services
Tata Sky to launch new sports, regional packs from 23 April

With the new TRAI tariff order (NTO) coming into the picture, DTH players have been on a roll in a bid to grab consumers’ attention by launching long-term recharge offers. Likewise, TataSky has also launched new packs starting at Rs 139.

DTH DTH Services
Tata Sky launches 'Lite pack' for regional viewers

MUMBAI: Starting at Rs 46 per month, Tata Sky has launched new packs of regional channels. With NCF and taxes, the total price comes to Rs 199 per month. With the launch of the 'Lite pack', the direct-to-home (DTH) operator hopes to target the regional consumers through the Indian Premier Leauge (...

DTH DTH Services
Independent TV assures TRAI of compliance with new tariff order after subscribers complain

Direct-to-home (DTH) operator Independent TV has clarified to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that it has taken several measures in order to ensure that its current tariff plans are in conformity with the regulator’s new framework for the broadcast sector.

DTH DTH Operator
Dish TV waives off 30-day lock-in period for pay channels, channel bouquets

India’s biggest direct-to-home operator Dish TV has waived off the 30-day lock-in period for pay channels and select channel bouquets it had levied earlier.

DTH DTH Operator
Sun Direct re-introduces regional packs under TRAI tariff order

Amid the new TRAI tariff regime, with consumers getting the power to choose their channels, many DTH providers are emphasising on long-term plans to viewers in a bid to attract them. Likewise, Sun Direct has joined the bandwagon by reintroducing its Jodi plans for subscribers.

DTH DTH Services
Applications for DD Free Dish Bucket R1 MPEG-2 slots invited by Prasar Bharati

MUMBAI: Prasar Bharati has invited applications to fill up reserved Bucket R1 MPEG-2 slots of DD Free Dish DTH Platform on pro-rata basis for the period from 15 April to 31 May in accordance with amendment to Policy Guidelines  of slots of DD Free Dish, notified on March 30 2019.

DTH DTH Operator
10.4 lakh DTH subscribers added in Oct-Dec 18 quarter in India

In calendar year 2018 (1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018), India’s private direct to home (DTH) service providers added 29.3 lakh net subscribers of which 10.4 lakh additions were made in the last quarter of the calendar year (Oct-Dec 2018, Q3 2019, period under review).

DTH DTH Operator

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories