Cable TV

Cable war erupts in Mumbai

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Mumbai is facing a round of cable rivalry and war. Reportedly, underworld kingpin Chhota Rajan has reportedly being threatening the former minister of state Ramdas Kadam and his brother Sadanand Kadam who run a cable network, Sai Cable Network, affiliated with the InCable breakaway, Win Cable, in the Dahisar-Borivali-Kandivli area in northern Mumbai, which almost has a monopoly in the locality. They have reportedly been asked to forego their stake in Sai Cable Network and merge it with Seven Star Cable network which is said to be run by Rajan front man Kashi-Pashi.

Another incident was reported from the Sion-King Circle area in north Mumbai. The Hinduja run cable network, InCableNet,set up a head-end in the area and roped in a Chhota Rajan frontman to operate from there. This apparently has ruffled the feathers of sub operators affiliated with InCableNet in the locality who have switched over to InCable arch rival Siticable. These operators - about 32 of them - used to take a signal feed from another Hinduja headend located in the suburb of Mahim.

A Hinduja spokesperson agreed that InCable had set up a new headend but it was done to improve the signal available to suboperators and also to be in a position to offer them southern Indian language channels on the prime band which cable TV subscribers had been demanding. Siticable officials, however, dismissed the report of any shifting loyalties saying that everything was normal in the locality.

The lucrative cable trade which commands a lot of revenues and huge profits has always been plagued by disputes and wars. It has since the beginning of cable TV in India been influenced by politicians and the underworld. It however had appeared united when all the cable TV networks in Mumbai blacked out ESPN-Star Sports a couple of months ago. The unity has since fractured and the bickering amongst the cable TV operators is once again become public.

The trade will become more lucrative with the introduction of broadband internet access. Everyone wants to grab their share of the pie which is worth around Rs 45 billion as of now.

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