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Broadcasters and MSOs begin their tussle on content deals

MUMBAI: As agreements for digital addressable system (DAS) Phase I and II areas come up for renewal, broadcasters and multi-system operators (MSOs) are negotiating hard to get better commercial terms.

DEN Networks has issued a notice informing its subscribers that IndiaCast Media channels will be available on a la carte in 15 days from the date of issue of the notice. Prior to DEN’s notice, IndiaCast had issued disconnection notices to DEN Networks and its joint ventures.

Similarly, Hathway Cable & Datacom is running a scroll on its network to inform its subscribers that Multi Screen Media (MSM) channels will be available on a la carte from 2 August.

At the heart of these disputes is the broadcasters’ demand for slashing carriage fee. MSOs have refused to take any cut in carriage fee and, at the same time, are unwilling to give desirable growth in subscription fee to the broadcasters, as they are yet to collect money from the ground.

DEN Satellite Networks director Ravi Singh said that the MSO would continue to offer IndiaCast channels in packages until the latter switches off channels. “If they switch off the channels, we will put their channels on RIO in DAS areas. We are still willing to sort out things,” he said.

IndiaCast officials refused to comment on the matter. DEN Networks CEO Pradeep Parameswaran was unavailable for comment.

Efforts to reach Hathway Cable & Datacom MD and CEO Jagdish Kumar and MSM Media Distribution president Rajesh Kaul for comments remained unsuccessful till the filing of this report.