Television

Sony, Hathway look to end payment impasse

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Sony Entertainment Television and the Rajan Raheja-owned Hathway Cable & Datacom are hopeful that their ongoing dispute over dues will be resolved within the next two to three days. Sony has switched off its pay channel service of SetMax, AXN and CNBC to Hathway since 2 January on account of what it says is nonpayment of dues worth around Rs1.5 million for the period from June 2000.

Besides, Sony wants Hathway to increase the declared connectivity of paid subscribers from November 2000. Sony's distribution head Hitesh Sabarwal said they were only asking that what they were paid should have a reasonable correlation to what was being charged for other pay channels. He, however, expressed confidence that some sort of agreement would be reached within the next two days.

According to cable industry sources, Hathway has a declared paid connectivity of around 10,000 for SetMax in Mumbai, 20,000 for CNBC, and 40,000 for AXN, the Financial Express reported on Tuesday.

Hathway's argument, according to sources, is that Sony unilaterally made new demands going against what had earlier been agreed upon. Also, they say Sony was demanding payment based on connectivity calculations similar to that enjoyed by the Sony's main Sony Entertainment Television channel which was way too high. Another argumant put forth by Hathway is that since most of their subscriber base was in upmarket localities, Sony's "adamance" was losing it a very influential audience.

While SetMax and AXN are off the Hathway network in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, the business channel CNBC is available in some pockets, the Financial Express reported.

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