Other broadcasters have also done such deals this year, an industry
source says. This practice was not prevalent earlier. "It is
not only important to be carried but also where you are positioned,"
the source adds.
Star India, however, claims to have old contracts with cable operators
mentioning "frequency allocations." Says Star India executive
vice-president of distribution Tony D'Silva, "This is an old
practice in Star. We started this a few years ago."
Cable networks, unable to increase monthly subscription rates from
consumers because of a regulation prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India (Trai), are charging a fee from several broadcasters.
Such 'occupancy' rates are on the upsurge, led by the continuous
arrival of new channels and a choke in bandwidth capacity. Only
digital cable TV service can increase capacity to accommodate this
surfeit of new channels.
"We want to make sure that cable operators carry us in the
'frequency band' we have mutually agreed upon. It is better to have
that in the agreement," says the source.