Cable TV

Cable ops reject Rs 71.33 FTA rate; threaten widespread stir

NEW DELHI: The Russian roulette being played out involving the pricing of the basic tier of free to air channels appears to be coming to an end. Finally.

The government-piloted task force on conditional access, in all probability, is likely to recommend to the government a revised rate of Rs 71.33 (exclusive of taxes) as the price of the basic tier, which has the support of a majority of the panel members.

The new figure was put to vote in a task force meeting here today.

The cable operators have decried the revised rate, dubbing it pro-broadcaster and threatened to stir up things, including seeking legal redressal.

ESS OPPOSES NEW RATE; BACKS Rs 45.90 FOR FTA: ESPN-Star Sports (ESS) is said to have opined at the task force meet today that the new rate is not acceptable to it and would give preference to an earlier rate of Rs 45.90. While there was no official word on Star India's stand on the issue, it stands to reason that it would be the same as that put forth by ESS.

According to information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry officials, the endeavour of the task force chairman (Rakesh Mohan, joint secretary, broadcasting, I&B ministry) would be to prepare its report and submit it "as soon as possible" for the government to take a final view on the price of the basic tier, before it is made public. learns from task force sources that a majority of the panel members supported the revised rate churned out by finance ministry officials, while a few did not agree or disagree with the new figure.

When the revised rate of Rs 71.33 per month per subscriber for the basic tier was put to vote through 'agree' and `disagree', according to the sources, those who agreed included CETMA, the apex body electronics goods manufacturers in India, Siti Cable, INCablenet, Sahara TV's Mahesh Prasad (representing the free to air channels), Zee Telefilms, Sun TV's parent company Sumangli and a consumer activist from Chennai.

Those who disagreed, of course, included the independent cable operators as they said a low rate for the basic tier would make their business unviable. According to Rakesh Dutta, general secretary of Cable Networks' Association, "The cable operators now have no option left, but to seek legal redressal and blackout cable services. In this fight, we would get the support of other cable organisations too."

However, industry observers feel that knocking on the doors of the court on the proposed rate of the basic tier, as and when it is made official, is highly unlikely to give cable operators major relief as the cable fraternity is more divided than united on such issues. For example, different cable ops' organisations have zeroed down on different figures for the basic tier.


That is a million-dollar question.

In the event that the government accepts the task force recommendation of Rs 71.33 per month per subscriber as the price of the basic tier, in all the metros the basic tier will not cost the same to subscribers.

The reason being that the local taxes, like the entertainment tax, that is to be added to this figure differs from state to state and the Central government cannot mandate a uniform rate, something that is being demanded by the entertainment industry from the government for long.

So, for example, in Delhi the basic tier is likely to cost Rs 94.33 (entertainment tax+5% service tax) per month where the entertainment tax is levied at 20 per cent. In Mumbai, the basic tier may be more costly as the entertainment tax is higher at 30 per cent.

Keep tuned in for more on this seemingly never-ending CAS saga.

Latest Reads
Competition regulator okays Goldman Sachs stake purchase in Den Networks

Investment banking major Goldman Sachs has received the Competition Commission's approval to increase its stake in Den Networks to over 24 per cent by acquiring additional shares through preferential allotment route.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
DAS petitions challenging constitutional provisions listed for 3 November

With the division bench taking cognisance of several cases relating the digital addressable system (DAS) Phase III which challenge constitutional provisions, the Delhi High Court will hear the DAS cases on 3 November, 2016

Cable TV DAS
MSOs finally cross 1000 as pan-India DAS deadline nears

With less than three months to go for the deadline of the final phase which will complete cable digitlization all over the country, the total number of multi-system operators has finally crossed 1000 with 774 getting provisional licences till 30 September 2016.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Several DAS III petitions may be transferred to Division Bench of Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: The Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase III legal wrangle is moving on, albeit slowly and steadily.  Lawyers appearing on behalf of the multi-system cable TV operators (MSO) will inform a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court about a large volume of cases relating to DAS III...

Cable TV DAS
Going a la carte with Star and Indiacast has helped: Bibhu Prasad Rath

Bhibu Rath heads one of the small regional cable TV players in the TV distribution business: Ortel Communications. The MSO began as a local player in the state of Odisha. But, it has since spread into neighboring states such as Chattishgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In fact, it...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Bihar govt trebles cable TV entertainment tax to Rs 50

Even as the government is working on subsuming entertainment and other incidental taxes into a goods and service tax (GST) which would be around 18 per cent, cable TV subscribers in Bihar are about to be delivered a blow to their wallets.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
DEN seeks Goldman Sachs investment nod from shareholders

MUMBAI: Leading Indian multisystem cable TV operator (MSO) DEN Networks –promoted by Sameer Manchanda- which got its board’s nod to issue another 1.58 crore shares at a price of Rs 90 per share to existing investor Goldman Sachs is now seeking shareholder approval for the same through an...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
NXT Digital-InCable merger gets shareholder nod; D’Silva bemoans lack of ecosystem support

MUMBAI: Hinduja Ventures Ltd’s (HVL’s) proposal to demerge its NXT Digital headend in the sky (HITS) business from its subsidiary Grant Investrade Ltd (GIL) and merge it into its cable TV MSO offshoot Indusind Media & Communications Ltd (IMCL) got the thumbs up from its shareholders at its...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Comcast to launch wireless service using Verizon

Here is good news for all Comcast subscribers. The US cable giant’s chief executive Brian Roberts has announced the launch of a wireless service by mid-2017. It plans to create a service that would run on its 15 million WiFi hotspots and use Verizon's wireless network through a deal struck in 2011...

Cable TV Multi System Operators

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories