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IMCL to wait for TDSAT order before putting Star channels on RIO

MUMBAI: IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd (IMCL) has decided to wait for the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) order before putting Star India channels on reference interconnect offer (RIO) in a case involving itself and the broadcaster.

According to an IMCL official, the matter between the multi-system operator (MSO) and Star India relating to bouquet pricing in digital addressable system (DAS) Phases I and II will come up for hearing on 10 October. Till then, the MSO will not put Star channels on RIO.

Hathway Cable & Datacom, which had fought week-long battle with Star, has already put Star India channels on RIO. It has also published introductory price at which it will offer Star channels to its subscribers. Hathway subscribers will have to pay Rs 10 per month plus taxes for each entertainment channel and Rs 20 per month plus taxes for each sports channel.

The issue of putting Star channels on RIO has cropped up as the broadcaster gave an undertaking in the TDSAT that it will offer its channels only on RIO to all MSOs in DAS areas.

The undertaking was given following a request by TDSAT whether Star would consider such a decision to maintain parity between Hathway and other MSOs.

Other MSOs including DEN Networks and Siti Cable continue to offer Star channels as part of bouquet. The MSOs had earlier met to decide on the way forward in the wake of the Star affidavit. However, nothing conclusive emerged as Hathway went ahead and published its pricing even as other MSOs are still contemplating their next move.

However, the MSOs cannot afford to offer Star channels as part of bouquet as that would involve having to pay Star for the bouquet, which will work out to a humongous amount.

Meanwhile, Hathway has moved the TDSAT to ensure that all MSOs are offering Star channels on RIO to maintain parity as was promised by the broadcaster.

Confirming the same, Hathway Cable & Datacom MD and CEO Jagdish Kumar informed that Star has told the tribunal that it has sent letters to all the MSOs to enter into RIO agreements.

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Hathway prices Star channels to its cable TV subscribers