Television

FTV becomes fully FTA, shuts off PAS 10 signal

MUMBAI: Court cases notwithstanding, French channel Fashion TV today became a fully free to air (FTA) feed beaming off the Asiasat 2 satellite. It has stopped its encrypted signal that till now was beaming as a "dual feed" off PAS 10.

With this move, it becomes the first private pay channel to become FTA in the lead-up to the CAS rollout deadline of 14 July for the four metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. 

FTV announced that "as of today..., FTV is now broadcast in the clear on Asiasat 2 satellite." It remains to be seen how its former distribution partner turned foe Modi Entertainment Network (MEN) responds to this fait accompli.

According to a statement issued by MEN, FTV has continued to keep its signal FTA since 17 April despite clear directions of a Delhi High Court order of 19 May. The Modis have now filed a further petition in the Delhi High Court, which will be heard next week.

Modi Entertainment's legal council, claims its dispute has arisen "on their agreement (with FTV) for distribution, marketing, ad sales, advertising, merchandising and licensing for which Modi has a sole and exclusive agreement for India and the SAARC region." The dispute came about due to FTV transmitting the channel free to air on the Asiasat 2 satellite and entering into an ad sales and marketing partnership with Worldwide Channel.

Modi now claims that due to FTV not abiding by the fundamental premise of the agreement - that the signal must be encrypted, not free-to-air, Modi has approached the High Court which has granted an interim order on 19 May directing FTV Paris to abide by the existing agreement. Which means FTV Paris has to re-encrypt the signal immediately, and has been restrained from entering into any distribution, ad sales, marketing, merchandising and licensing agreements with anyone else for the entire region.

Worldwide Channel, a part of the Worldwide Group, had issued a statement last week claiming that FTV had gone FTA and that several new programming initiatives would be launched shortly.

The problems between the Modi's and Fashion TV came to a head during a meeting in Paris on 5 May between MEN president Lalit Modi and FTV president Michel Adam. According to an FTV statement issued on 5 May, the meeting was a heated one and "both parties agreed to disagree on further cooperation."

"This dispute will be settled in a court of England. Meantime, Fashion TV is unencrypting its signal on AsiaSat 2 satellite by going Free to Air. Fashion TV is now developing a new strategy and reviewing its options for the Indian market," the FTV statement had said.

Whether Indian court or UK court, lawyers from both sides have a pretty busy time ahead.

FTV's technical specifications for its FTA feed:

Satellite: Asiasat 2

Signal: MPEG-2/DVB

Mod: QPSK

Symbol rate: 2.6259 Msym/sec

FEC: 3/4

D/L Freq: 3796MHz 

Polarisation: V

Also Read:

Modi Entertainment drags FTV Paris to court

Fashion TV India shifts satellite, gets new ad sales partner

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