Sony going pay 30 June at Rs 8 sticker price

Its unofficial!!! Industry sources confirmed today that Sony Entertainment will become encrypted from 30 June. 

The channel will be priced at Rs 8 per subscriber with the set top box costing the cable operator Rs 6,000 initially and a balance of Rs 6,000 to be paid after six months

Industry grist had it that SET would be following Star TV and Zee TV (encryption 1 June) and would go pay by year-end but it looks like the channel calculated there is no need to wait that long.

With the target date advanced by almost six months, whether it will manage to roll out all the boxes to its cable affiliates is not clear. But the channel's management had a meeting two days ago where a decision was taken to set that as the target date. The company has to import the set top boxes, which can prove cumbersome as Zee TV has found out in the past when its boxes from Philips were delayed. Even Discovery had its set tops caught up in customs for quite a while. Hopefully Sony will not be caught on the wrong foot a la Discovery.

Sony's decision to encrypt at a time when it is losing cachet with audiences (its viewership ratings have been declining) may surprise some observers. However, the fact is that it too has been caught up in the momentum in the industry towards digital pay TV bouquets. Its bouquet consists of SET, Max, AXN and CNBC. Other channels are slated to be added to it in the not so distant future.

Sony officials declined to comment, saying that an official announcement is to be made soon.

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