MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has refused to grant an injunction against Star on a petition filed by direct-to-home (DTH) operators Dish TV and Videocon d2h.
Dish TV and Videocon d2h had moved the tribunal against Star India’s decision to launch its rebranded Hindi GEC Star Bharat, which was earlier known as Life OK, on DD’s free DTH platform Freedish.
The DTH operators wanted the broadcaster to either declare it as a pay or a free-to-air (FTA) channel. In case the channel was being converted to FTA, the broadcaster should give it a refund, they contended.
However, Star India clarified that Star Bharat would be a pay channel that will be launched on Freedish as well.
It also argued that pay TV platforms collected subscription fee from subscribers; therefore, they are liable to pay subscription fee for the channel while Freedish did not collect any subscription fee from subscribers.
Without granting an injunction, the tribunal said that it would see if launching the channel on Freedish amounted to making it FTA. The matter has been listed for October.
Star Bharat will launch on 28 August at 6 pm. It will replace Life OK, which is being discontinued.
Star Bharat will be available on DTH and cable TV platforms right from launch day since it is replacing Life OK. Additionally, it will be available on Freedish.
Earlier, Dish TV CMD Jawahar Goel hit out at Star India for trying to create a monopoly in sports broadcasting that is set to hurt not only distribution platforms such as DTH and cable TV but also consumers. In his letter to Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Competition Commission of India (CCI), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Goel said that the broadcaster has a 44% share of the sports genre, and that if it manages to acquire the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights, which is up for auction, it will become a virtual monopoly.