Cable TV

Karnataka cable operators vote to ban Udaya channels

BANGALORE: The decision by the Sun Network to turn four of its local channels -- three Kannada and one Telugu -- into pay channels from 1 August is threatening to snowball into a major confrontation with the southern state's cable operators.

Sun Network's market leader Udaya TV, along with Udaya News and Ushe, became dearer by Rs 18 as of yesterday. Udaya TV became encrypted from 1 August while the other two channels were already running as encrypted feeds.

A state level meeting organized yesterday by the Karnataka State Cable Operators Welfare Association at Kumte (Shimoga) and attended by cable operators from all districts across Karnataka, passed two key resolutions --- the first to ban Udaya channels across the entire state unless they were made free to air again, and the second was to strongly oppose conversion of any popular regional or any other free to air to a pay mode channel unless addressability via conditional access system (CAS) is implemented throughout the state.

As already reported by earlier, the Cable TV Operators' Associations of Hassan, Chikamagalur and Shimoga districts have decided to ban all Udaya channels in protest against the decision of converting Udaya into a pay channel. They claim that it is a gross injustice to the Kannada-speaking people and to Kannada culture.

"This is just a ploy to extract more money from us", says a subscriber. "When they come for collecting subscription, they'll make us pay more if we want to watch the Udaya channels."

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