AXN's Calcutta switchoff: Sony's viewpoint

Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has denied that Calcutta-based cable TV operator RPG Netcom has switched off AXN, a channel it distributes in India, a claim the MSO had made a couple of days ago. RPG had claimed that it had pulled the plug on AXN because SET was asking it to pay higher subscription fees to continue re-transmitting the service to its sub-operators. SET COO Rajesh Pant says this is untrue and that it was actually Sony, which had switched off the cable operator's signal and not the other way around. Says Pant: "There isn't even a price hike for AXN. What we are asking them to do is pay us for a higher subscriber base than they have been doing so up to now. We are asking for higher subscriber counts. We had given them some notice but they were not interested so we switched them off."

He however is quick to add. "We are not in a fighting situation with them as of now. I expect the entire situation to get resolved very amicably across the table. Give it time."

Pant says the channel is doing fine having achieved a penetration of 2.5 million subscribers. "The actual figure is actually 11-12 million because cable ops actually declare only 20-30 per cent of their subscriber base. We are reasonably happy with out collections from the cable TV trade. I am sure cable operators and consumers see value in the service, hence we are asking them to give us fees for a larger number of subscribers."

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