Siti offers 50% revenue sharing deal to One Alliance

NEW DELHI: Even as the channels distributed by One Alliance, a joint venture between Discovery India and Sony Entertainment TV India, continue to be off prime bands on Siti Cable networks, the latter has offered to One Alliance, fresh revenue sharing deals to join the headend in the sky (HITS) project.

According to sources in Zee Telefilms, the parent company of Siti Cable, the new commercial deal offer was sent yesterday. The deal offers One Alliance around 50 per cent of the revenue that the Sony, Discovery and HBO channels mop up at present as subscription revenue once they come on to the HITS platform.

The sources said that talks would be opened on similar lines with ESPN-Star Sports shortly.

The One Alliance channels, comprising Sony, AXN, SET Max, HBO, Discovery and Animal Planet, had been taken off the prime band on Siti Cable networks in various cities, including the metros of Delhi and Mumbai, owing to differences on the HITS project and Sony's apprehensions on joining the platform promoted by Zee Telefilms' cable arm.

One Alliance president Shantonu Aditya, however, pointed out that there was more than just commercial issues to be resolved. Aditya said, "We have asked them (Siti) for certain technical and legal clarifications regarding their HITS plan, for which we are still awaiting a response. It is only after this that the commercial aspects can be discussed."

With the 1 September deadline for the first phase area-wise rollout of conditional access system almost round the corner, Siti Cable is aggressively pushing its HITS project through which it's implementing addressability in Indian cable homes in a digital format. The HITS project is being marketed under the brand name Galaxzee.

One Alliance apart, even Star India has not yet agreed to join the Zee-promoted HITS platform citing reservations on 'turning around' of channels from India after they are downlinked at Zee's master control room for CAS encryption, which would amount to uplinking from India, according to Star.

Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea had gone on record on 14 August after a meeting of the CAS implementation panel saying that Star and Sony channels had not yet agreed to join Zee's HITS platform. The repartee from Mukerjea came after Zee Telefilms vice-chairman Jawahar Goel, standing in for his elder brother Subhash Chandra, had reiterated during the meeting that Siti cable would offer all pay channels for Rs 128 when CAS is rolled out.

Meanwhile, yesterday Zee also started the test signals of its KU-band television transmission through which a direct-to-home (DTH) service would be provided under the brand name Dish TV. Zee had said that it would ideally like to launch its DTH service along with CAS on 1 September.

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