Television

Just not Aussie cricket for Mumbai INCableNet viewers

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MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: The end-of year big ticket cricket event, India's tour of Australia, kicks off on ESPN Star Sports from tomorrow. However, for a large chunk of viewers in Mumbai and some other cities, it will be a no show.

 

 

ESS has been off the Hinduja Group MSO INCableNet since 10 November over what the sports broadcaster says are unpaid dues totalling Rs 70 million. Citing reasons for the switch-off at the time, ESPN Software VP, affiliate sales, Sricharan Iyengar had said, "INCablenet has failed to pay the monthly subscription fees to ESPN Software despite written and verbal commitments from senior INCablenet officials, including the CFO of the company Mr Srinivas Palakodeti."



And on the eve of the first cricket Test in Brisbane, what is definitely ruled out are any last minute deals or agreements. Whether it be ESS officials (on record) or INCableNet officials (off it), both will only offer the line that the other side had not come back with any offer.



ESS in fact threw down the gauntlet as it were to INCableNet today by taking out a huge ad in The Times Of India urging consumers who were not getting its signals to contact Hathway Bhawani (Central Mumbai), Hathway Space Vision (Grant Road and South Mumbai), Pacenet (Western Suburbs), Abhay Vision (New Mumbai/Thane) or Hathway itself. It is more than a coincidence that the consumer is being directed to go and contact alternative cable distributors in areas where INCableNet has been switched off.



HTMT group director and CTO KV Seshasayee refused to comment on the dispute saying that since ESPN had filed a winding up petition (on 18 November) in the Bombay High Court against INCableNet, the matter was sub-judice.



ESS' Iyengar was more vocal however, saying the Hindujas had not come back with any offer and at present, negotiations were not on.



Iyengar also pointed out that ESS services were not completely switched off INCableNet. "Though the ESS services in Mumbai, Delhi, Baroda and Ahmedabad to Hindujas' cable networks have been cut off, the signal is still on in places like Hyderabad and Bangalore," he said.



"We are here to do business and that is what we are looking at," Iyengar said, adding though that they would like to realise the (pending) money first.



Between a rock and a hard place about sums up the plight of many (INCableNet is the city's dominant MSO) of Mumbai's cricket-crazy public as India's cricket worthies take on the mighty Aussies.

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