Zee de-links DD cricket channels from Dish TV

NEW DELHI: Dish TV, Zee Group's direct-to-home service, has discontinued two of Doordarshan's channels on its platform.

This "arrangement" will be in force for the duration of the ongoing India-Australia cricket series to begin with involving four Test matches. And unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise, it is also likely to include the upcoming India-Pakistan One-Day International (part of the Indian cricket board's Platinum Jubilee celebrations) and a two-Test India South Africa fixture in November.

Yesterday, Prasar Bharati had written a letter asking Dish TV to take off the DTH platform DD National and DD Sports.

Essel Group, the umbrella entity for Zee Telefilms and ASC Enterprise Ltd (the licence holder for the DTH service), however, made its protests known to Prasar Bharati.

In a letter to Prasar Bharati, Essel Group additional vice-chairman Jawahar Goel wrote : "As per the direction received from CEO Prasar Bharati's office, we are making arrangement to stop carriage of DD National and DD Sports on Dish TV platform." He, however, pointed out that Prasar Bharati's demands were against the broadcast and cable TV regulator's recommendations on the `must-provide'clause.


Trai, in its recent recommendations on "Issues Relating to Broadcasting and Distribution of TV channels," had suggested that "every broadcaster shall provide on request signals of its TV channels on a non-discriminatory basis to all distributors of TV channels including cable network, DTH, and head-ends-in-the-sky."

Though the regulator's recommendations are yet to be accepted by the government, Dish TV has made it clear indirectly that Prasar Bharati might become the first defaulter of the must-provide clause.

Dish TV has started running a scroll to educate its consumers on how they could access DD National and DD Sports for watching the cricket telecast. Dish TV has claimed that a major portion of its subscriber base is located in far-flung areas of the country where cable or terrestrial TV is difficult to access.

"This issue has also been brought to the knowledge of Trai," Goel wrote, while confirming his support to the national broadcaster.

Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma expressed satisfaction that the matter has been resolved with Dish TV. A response from Trai, however, could not be elicited.

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