Tata Sky Subscribers In Jeopardy As The Company Continues Tussle With Sony India

The battle seems to be never ending between Sony India and DTH service provider Tata Sky. After pulling 32 channels of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), Tata Sky said that it’s looking for negotiations with the broadcaster on the pricing front. To recall, Tata Sky used to offer all the channels of SPN India, but the contract between both the parties ended on July 31. Right after the contract expiry, Tata Sky pulled all the channels of SPN India which made its users complain about the issue on social media portals. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had interfered between the parties and asked them to come with an outcome by November 11 because the paid customers are suffering the loss of some popular channels. Tata Sky revealed that SPN India is looking for Rs 1,700 crore for the contract renewal, which in current scenarios is a huge amount because the broadcaster lost of the rights of Indian Premier League and several other popular shows were stopped as well.

TDSAT Directs Tata Sky and SPN India to Settle Down the Issue

As mentioned above, TDSAT has entered the picture now as Tata Sky subscribers are facing issues with the absence of SPN channels. “…we direct both the parties to sit across the table and try to work out a mutually acceptable negotiated agreement within a period of four weeks from today. If required the parties may seek an extension of the period, TDSAT said in its order recently.

The matter has been listed for November 11 for considering the outcome of the fresh round of negotiations which the parties are to carry out in the meantime.

What’s the Issue Between Tata Sky and SPN India?

Earlier this month, Tata Sky removed 32 channels of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and three of TV Today Network on pricing issues. SPN’s three-year contract with Tata Sky had expired on July 31, and the two since then have been negotiating on a new pricing deal.

The contract tenure between SPN and Tata Sky came to an end on July 31. After the talks for a negotiated agreement did not yield any result, SPN served a notice to Tata Sky on September 7, followed by a public notice on September 10. Consequently, Tata Sky opted for an RIO-based agreement effective September 30 midnight for ten channels.

SPN India Sought Rs 1,700 Crore for Contract Renewal

This is an interesting aspect which came out recently. Tata Sky had pointed out that negotiations failed because the demand was for Rs 1,700 crore and that too when the right of telecasting IPL matches was no longer available with SPN as it has been won recently by another broadcaster. Under the old terms, SPN was getting Rs 800 crore approximately.

So SPN India is now seeking more than double the amount of previous contract value and that too without the rights of IPL. For the unaware, Sony India owned the rights to broadcast IPL matches for ten years since 2008. But in September 2017, Star India pipped Sony to bag the rights for four years- 2018-2022. – Telecom talk

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