Dish TV moves TDSAT over MTV refusal to join its DTH platform

 MUMBAI: In what appears to be a test case for the broadcast regulator's diktat on providing content to all platforms on a nondiscriminatory basis, Dish TV has moved the disputes tribunal seeking legal redressal against, what it says, is MTV's unwillingness to come on to its DTH platform.

The case has been filed at the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) by Dish TV, 20 per cent owned by Zee Telefilms, and would be heard on 4 April, 2005.


Contacted by Indiantelevision.com, a senior executive of Zee Telefilms confirmed that Dish TV has sought guidance from TDSAT on the issue of MTV, which, has reportedly refused to give its over content citing commercial reasons.

The appeal may set a precedent on the controversial must-provide clause of the interconnect regulation, outlined for the broadcast sector by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

When MTV India was asked by Indiantelevision.com to respond to the TDSAT case, a spokesperson, through an e-mail, said, "We are in the processes of ascertaining the facts and would not like to comment on the matter as of now."

TDSAT is the only authority that can hear matters of dispute pertaining to TRAI directives and, in recent times, has been deluged with cases relating to the complex broadcast and cable sector.



Though Dish TV has moved the disputes tribunal, company insiders also pointed out that this case amounts to `testing the waters' before a full-fledged campaign could be launched. Earlier, the country's first DTH operator had sent letters to Star India and Sony Entertainment TV India, copies of which were mailed to Trai too, asking the two leading broadcasters to join the Dish TV platform.

As of now, pay broadcasters such as Star, Sony and Ten Sports do not offer their content to the DTH platform of Dish TV.

According to information available, the response to these letters has been tepid from all sides, including the sector regulator that is still grappling with its internal apprehensions and a not-so-hot relationship that it shares with the information and broadcasting ministry.

The must-provide clause, penned by the regulator with an aim to bring about a level playing field in the cut-throat broadcast industry and give the consumer more choice, has thrown up more questions than it has answered.

It is still not clear whether certain contentions could be made on the back of the must-provide clause of the interconnect regulation as Trai had said, at one point of time, that it would get effective when a second DTH operator enters the arena.

Though pubcaster Doordarshan operates a DTH service, its presence is unlikely to have an effect on the clause as the service is free of subscription money, which has led pay channels to keep away from it.

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