Regulators

Hathway being asked to pay more by broadcasters as against other MSOs: Kathpalia

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NEW DELHI: Even as it said that an agreement under the Reference Interconnect Order (RIO) should be for both ala carte and bouquets, Hathway today questioned why multisystem operators like Den and Siticable were being given greater discounts by Taj TV for distribution of their channels.

Hathway counsel Arun Kathpalia said that the DAS Regulations of 2012 also provided for negotiations that were non-discriminatory, transparent and on reasonable terms and did not merely insist on an RIO.   

In the ongoing hearing before the Tribunal in the cases linked to Taj TV signals for Turner and Zee TV, Kathpalia said the Regulation says that the broadcaster or distributor ‘may’ seek inter-connection but also provides for mutual agreement within 60 days of request.

In any case, RIO is not confined to ala carte or bouquets but refers only to commercial terms, whereas Taj TV was offering Hathway RIO only on ala carte. He said under the RIO regime, both ala carte and bouquets can be offered and these have to be mentioned.

He also said that the Regulations are clear that RIO can come into play only when there is no first agreement, while the issue here was about renewal.  

He regretted that despite being the largest MSO, it was being offered the smallest discounts by Taj TV and the broadcasters. While Den and Siticable were being charged Rs 30.50 per subscriber, Hathway was being charged Rs 35.

He alleged that at one stage, Star had wanted the sports channel to be on RIO but the general entertainment channels to be on negotiable terms. “There should be a level playing field,” he said. There was no consistency of relevant factors, he claimed.

Hathway had wanted that the starting point for negotiations should be the old agreement, whereas Taj TV insisted that the old agreement was only a promotional offer but this was not true, Kathpalia said.

At one stage, he said that every carrier including DTH was at a loss with the exception of Den.

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