MUMBAI: Even as the the outlines of the basic tier in the conditional access environment are firming up (30 free to air channels at Rs 72), FTA broadcasters are expressing the view that there should be no limit on the number of FTA channels available.
Speaking to indiantelevision.com, SAB TV vice-chairman Markand Adhikari asserted, "There should be no limit on the number of FTA channels in the basic tier. Otherwise, there will be arm twisting by cable operators."
Adhikari fully endorsed the views expressed earlier to the media by Mahesh Prasad, president, Sahara TV and former I&B secretary, that FTA broadcasters were being given a raw deal. Prasad has been quoted as saying that because the CAS task force was gravitating towards 30 channels in the FTA tier, the consumer might get a raw deal. Adhikari said the only way to prevent cable operators from demanding carriage fees was to ensure that all FTA channels were carried.
Queried as to where SAB TV would stand in a post-CAS scenario, Adhikari said if properly implemented, it was bound to benefit his channel. The fact that SAB TV was uniquely positioned as primarily a comedy channel would make it a must carry not only on every cable platform but also on every media plan as well, he asserted.