Television

ESS urges Hathway subscribers to switch to Zee DTH

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MUMBAI: The ongoing face-off between sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports and cable MSO Hathway Datacom that has left soccer enthusiasts gnashing their teeth in frustration has taken an interesting new turn.



ESS today exhorted subscribers of the Rajan Raheja-promoted Hathway (in which Star India officially has a 26 per cent stake) hit by the switch-off of its signal to opt for Zee's DTH platform Dish TV.

 

A statement issued by ESS even provides a toll free number on which viewers can call to get Dish TV installed.



ESS accuses Hathway of refusing to "respond to all efforts made to resolve the pending outstanding issue." ESS has further charged that Hathway has not paid the monthly subscription fees due to it since February and has not honored various commitments made, including the signing of a service contract. ESS' argument is that it has been "left with no choice but to discontinue its services to Hathway till the outstanding amount is realized and a service contract is executed."



Countering ESS' assertions, a release issued by Hathway late this evening has termed the sports broadcaster's contention as "mala fide, baseless and false." Putting forth its case, the statement issued by the MSO says, "During the past few years Hathway has paid subscription fee in excess of Rs 40 crores (Rs 400 million) to ESS. It is surprising that ESS is wrongly publishing malicious propaganda against Hathway. In the last several years not a single pay channel broadcaster has shut off signals to Hathway. Hathway has always been prompt and regular in its dealings with all broadcasters including ESS."



"The current dispute is a deliberate ploy by ESS arbitrarily seeking to hike the monthly rates in violation of the TRAI order, which has frozen all the pay channels rates as well as the cable subscription fee," Hathway has stated, further accusing it of refusing "to accept Hathway's cheques deliberately to instigate a crisis."



Whatever may be the contentions of the two parties to this dispute, the fact is that soccer and tennis enthusiasts who subscribe to Hathway are missing out on the Euro 2004 and Wimbledon action.

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