Cable TV

Switch-off scenario averted in Mumbai as Star, INCableNet agree to continue talking

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After a day of hard negotiations, Star India and Hinduja Group MSO INCableNet this evening appeared to have bought themselves some time to arrive at an agreement on the terms of a new contract after the current one expired on 30 June. 

Executive V-P distribution Tony D'Silva said Star had given INCableNet a proposal and the MSO was supposed to revert back on it within 48 hours. D'Silva was however, quick to point out the latest round of talks were not confrontationist in nature and that he felt reasonably confident that it would not come to a scenario of Star switching off the INCableNet feed. D'Silva said the proposal Star had put forward was valid for a limited one-month period during which a final agreement would have to be arrived at. 

Rajiv Vyas, newly promoted COO of IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd (IMC), of which INCableNet is the operations arm, spoke in a similar vein while stating the two sides had worked out a month-long bridge period in which to resolve all outstanding issues and come to an agreement which would be beneficial to both sides. Vyas added that Star had sent them a proposal in which they'd sought a response in 48 hours. It was not an ultimatum, Vyas said.

The scene was a sea change from the one existing at the beginning of the day where it had almost seemed as a certainty that there would be a confrontation between the two sides. Big ads in yesterday's edition of The Sunday Times of India and Sunday Mid-Day detailing INCableNet's litany of woes vis--vis broadcasters, but with particular reference to Star, appeared to point to the fact that consumers could expect a switch-off any time in the next few days. The advertisement said Star had issued a notice to INCableNet that unless the MSO increased monthly payments, it would not be able to provide signals w.e.f. tomorrow, 9 July.

The ad also made a strong plea for the introduction of conditional access systems (CAS) at the earliest as the only way to resolve this matter in the long term. 

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