Cable TV

Cable ops push Star One out of prime band

MUMBAI: Cable operators in Mumbai have pushed Star One into a higher frequency, forcing the channel to move out of its prime band location in all networks across the city.

The reason on offer: Star India has been forcing the second bouquet on cable operators. Also, Tata Sky, in which Star is a 20 per cent joint venture partner, is approaching housing societies with the proposal of offering residents a central dish antenna through which it can connect individual installations and offer direct-to-home (DTH) service.

The decision was taken by Cable Operators and Distributors Association (CODA). "Star has been bundling channels and forcing the second bouquet on us. Besides, through Tata Sky it is taking a direct-to-society approach to harm the interest of cable TV operators. We should be offered standalone channels," says CODA president Ganesh Naidu.

Star India distribution head Tony D'Silva rubbishes such arguments. "We haven't been given any reasons. And why are we singled out? Besides, Tata Sky is an independent company. Such actions can harass consumers. If they had grievances, they could have taken methods like approaching the regulatory body," he says.

CODA, which met on 27 January, is particularly concerned about the threat that DTH could pose after Tata Sky launches its service. Cable operators do not want pay TV broadcasters to put pressure on rates. "We are against bundling of channels, particularly the second bouquet which consumers don't want to pay for. We have started with Star One. We may take similar action against the other bouquets," says Anil Parab of CODA.

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