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Star to meet Kolkata MSOs on 28 Oct for strategy on RIO issue

MUMBAI: Star India will meet multi-system operators (MSOs) in Kolkata on 28 October to chalk out a strategy on the RIO issue.

Kolkata-based MSOs including GTPL KCBPL, Siti Cable, Manthan Digital, Hathway Cable and AMBC Digital had issued an ad on 19 October informing their customers that Star channels would be available on a la carte from midnight.

The plan was to put all the Star channels on RIO and rework the package pricing. However, Star India officials convinced the MSOs not to go ahead with their plans and sought a meeting to discuss the way forward.

A senior official of an MSO said that the ratings of Star channels, particularly Star Jalsha and Jalsha Movies, would have taken a hit had the MSOs gone ahead and put these channels on a la carte.

However, a Star India official said that the intention behind the meeting was to ensure that the transition from package to a la carte is smooth. “We want to ensure that consumers should not get impacted because of this transition, hence this meeting,” said the official.

Contrary to its position in Kolkata, Star had issued disconnection notices to MSOs in Delhi including DEN Networks, Siti Cable and IMCL for non-signing of RIO agreement, following which DEN issued a notice informing its subscribers that Star channels will be available only on RIO from November.

Hathway Cable was the first to put Star channels on RIO beginning 1 October. The two parties had fought an acrimonious legal battle on the issue of parity which culminated in Star filing an affidavit in TDSAT that it will offer its channels only on RIO to all MSOs for one year.

The MSO had decided to adopt an introductory pricing of Rs 10 per month plus taxes for each entertainment channel and Rs 20 per month plus taxes for each sports channel.

Consequent upon the TDSAT order, Hathway filed another application on the parity issue contending that RIO-based agreements for Star channels must apply to all MSOs from a common date. The tribunal will hear the matter on 30 October in which DEN and Siti have also been impleaded as opposite party members.