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Star India issues disconnection notice as deal with Hathway ends

MUMBAI: Star India has issued disconnection notices to Hathway Cable & Datacom in DAS and non-DAS areas for non-signing of agreement, non-submission of subscriber report and non-payment of outstanding subscription fees.

According to a public notice issued in newspapers, Star has said that it will disconnect signals of its channels to Hathway in three weeks from today.

“We have not been able to come to an agreement after prolonged negotiation, following which we were compelled to take this step,” said a Star India official without getting into the specifics of the deal.

In DAS areas, the Star channels will, however, be available on RIO basis for Hathway customers. “We have sent them RIO agreement as well but haven’t heard anything yet from Hathway. Only they can say what they are thinking,” added the executive.

Hathway with 7.8 million active digital subscribers is one of the largest MSOs in the country.

The MSO has been engaged in frequent run-ins with Star India whether it’s over sports channels or over parity issue.

It had also dragged the now-defunct MediaPro, in which Star was a joint venture partner, to the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) over the issue of parity. Hathway contended that its competitors DEN Networks and Siti Cable were getting content at lower costs from MediaPro, thereby leaving it at a disadvantage.

The MSO was earlier embroiled in a bitter quarrel with Star Sports over DAS deals. While Star Sports was seeking a double-digit growth in subscription revenue from Hathway, the latter was reluctant since its content costs were climbing through the roof with no sign of returns as packaging had not taken place yet due to tussle with the local cable operators.

Unable to reach an agreement, Hathway put Star Sports channels on RIO in DAS Phase I and II areas. An annoyed Star Sports waged a 360-degree advertisement war against the MSO.