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Zee, Turner channels go a la carte on Hathway Cable

MUMBAI: Zee and Turner channels will be available on a la carte basis on multi-system operator (MSO) Hathway Cable & Datacom beginning 1 August. This is as per an interim commercial arrangement prescribed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ distribution arm Taj Television, which distributes the Zee and Turner channels, had switched off signals of its channels to Hathway following the end of a 21-day notice period on 31 July. The notice was issued after the parties failed to reach an agreement on carriage deal.

In the aftermath of the switch-off, Hathway moved the TDSAT today against Taj Television, seeking reinstatement of signals of the channels to its network.

As an interim arrangement, the TDSAT has allowed Hathway to put Taj Television channels on RIO from 1 August. It has also directed Taj Television to switch on the signals.

Furthermore, TDSAT has asked Hathway to clear Taj Television’s outstanding dues at the rate of Rs 21.60 per subscriber for the period April to July, subject to adjustments at a later stage. This would include the Zee (excluding sports) and Turner group of channels.

Taj Television had contended that Hathway must pay the backlog based on the RIO rates.

The tribunal has asked Taj Television to file its replies in three weeks after which Hathway can file its rejoinder in two weeks. The matter is expected to come up for hearing after five weeks once the reply and rejoinder have been filed.

However, Ten Sports channels will continue to be available on the Hathway platform as the deal between the two parties will continue till 2015.

Earlier, Star India had issued disconnection notice to Hathway due to expiry of inter-connect agreement and non-payment of monthly subscription fees.

Hathway had challenged the disconnection notice following which the TDSAT made an interim arrangement under which Hathway was to pay Rs 27 on cost-per-subscriber basis as monthly subscription fee to Star from 1 August for both general entertainment and sports channels.

The tribunal had also directed Hathway to clear outstanding dues amounting to Rs 27 crore (Rs 270 million) by Wednesday.