Television

Ten not amused as DD bids to extract maximum from telecast

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NEW DELHI: Kal Ho Na Ho (if tomorrow never comes). Even as pubcaster Doordarshan made a neat killing by airing advertisements booked by it while relaying Ten Sports signals for Saturday's humdinger of a cricket match in Pakistan, the scenario looks like heading for another round of TEN-sions on Monday if the SupremeCourt is unable to dispose off the matter when it here's further arguments in the case.

Apart from the DD angle, there is also the issue of increasing the connectivity of Ten Sports because most of Mumbai is still to be brought alive, while Hathway, which has about 40 per cent of the Delhi and neighbouring areas' cable and satellite home share amongst the multi-system operators is refusing to play ball with Ten and its distribution agent, Modi Entertainment Network.

Hathway Delhi is contending that Ten/MEN's demand for a "five-fold increase" in subscription base, which would amount to a huge outflow of money, is not sustainable.

Second, Hathway Delhi has also pointed out that its annual contract with Ten runs through till 31 March, 2004 and before that any demand in increase in subscriber base would amount to a breach of contract on Ten's part.

A senior executive of Hathway Delhi, when quizzed on the issue, gave an evasive reply, saying, " We'll see what the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict is and then we'll take a call."

Hathway Delhi, which obtained a stay from the Delhi high court yesterday on the contractual obligations of Ten/MEN as per the agreement signed last April, services Delhi's neighboring areas like Faridabad, Sahibabad, Gurgaon, along with scattered operations of other MSOs and some independent cable ops.

While admitting that, in Delhi, Hathway is a "bit of a problem", MEN's Lalit Modi yesterday had said sooner than later most cable operators would fall in line.

According to Modi, more and more cable ops have been signing up for Ten and in most of major cities and other metros, including RPG in Kolkata, between 60-70 per cent of the deals have been concluded. In most places the joint venture partners of Siti Cable too have signed up with Ten.

But unlike in the past, the cable ops in Delhi and Mumbai have not panicked. As national cable & Telecom Association's Vikki Chowdhry pointed out today, "There is no use signing up or taking a decision in a hurry. the Supreme Court's verdict may change the whole scenario over the coming days.

Meanwhile, Ten indicated that it would bring to the notice of the SC on Monday how DD played truant and did not carry its logo while relaying Ten's signals on the terrestrial network for at least one and a half hours in the morning today when the match started.

Further, on the basis of the free signals made available to it, DD said that it has earned about Rs 60 million in advertising revenue from Saturday's match.

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