Television

Star serves notice to switch off service to Hathway

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MUMBAI: Star India on Tuesday served a one-month notice to Hathway Cable & Datacom threatening to disconnect its channels if outstanding dues are not cleared.

The channels within the network that Star has threatened to de-link from Hathway include Star Plus, Star Movies, Star World, Star Gold, Star News, Utsav, Star One, Vijay TV, National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, Channel [V], Hungama TV and the two Walt Disney channels - Toon Disney and The Disney Channel.

A point of note: five years after the Star Group acquired a 26 per cent stake in Rajan Raheja-promoted Hathway Cable & Datacom, the first public face off between the two partners is out in the open.

"There is an outstanding which Hathway owes us as per the contract. We have issued them a notice as per the regulation prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India," says a Star India spokesperson.

Hathway, however, states the dues to Star India are in the normal course of business credit period. "The essential problem is only with respect to the new pay channel bouquet like Hungama TV and the Disney channels. The problem with the new pay channels is that the customers are not willing to pay additional money. The dispute is due to the customer resistance to the new pay channels," the company says in a release.

Star's second bouquet, priced at Rs 22 a month per subscriber, includes Star One, Hungama TV and the two Disney channels.

Hathway has "no dispute" or "outstanding" except in relation to "normal trade credit," the release adds. "We do not want the customers to be burdened with additional amounts for new pay channels which most of them do not want to watch."

It may be recalled that Star India on 7 May discontinued, due to non payment of dues, service of its bouquet of channels to Asianet Satellite Communications, a company entirely held by Raheja which is the dominant multi system operator in Kerala.

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