Star hopes to be back on air in Kolkata in next few days

The Star bouquet of channels, which has been blacked out in Kolkata due to a continuing dispute with cable operators over subscription fees, should be back on air within the next few days, Arun Mohan, executive vice-president, distribution, says.

Mohan says that his team is working out independent arrangements with a number of sub-operators which will see a resolution to the stalemate. Mohan added that Mumbai-based multi-systems operator (MSO) Hathway, in which Star had a 26 per cent stake, will invest in setting up a base in Kolkata to prevent a repeat of the present situation in future.

Star's problems have been compounded in Kolkata because RPG Netcom, which has 75 per cent C&S penetration and rival Zee Telefilm's Siti Cable, which has the remaining 25 per cent, have worked in tandem to put a spoke in the channel's plans.

Matters came to a head when Star increased its rates by Rs 9 per month to RS 30 from 1 March for the package comprising Star Plus, Star News, Star Movies, Star Gold, Star World, National Geographic and Channel V.

According to Star, the Kolkata cable operators have formed a unionised cartel and actually declare only 25 per cent of their total subscriber base thereby directly pocketing 75 per cent of the end-users' subscriptions and at the cost of the broadcasters.

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