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TDSAT to hear Dish TV–Videocon d2h vs Star case on 12 Oct

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has posted the Dish TV–Videocon d2h versus Star India case on the issue of launch of pay GEC Star Bharat on DD Freedish on 12 October.

The DTH operators had moved the TDSAT against Star India’s decision to launch Star Bharat, which is a pay channel, on Freedish, which is a free DTH platform. Star India had rebranded Life OK and Life OK HD to Star Bharat and Star Bharat HD on 28 August.

Admitting the petition filed by direct-to-home (DTH) operators, the tribunal put up the matter under the head ‘for directions’ on 12 October.

While refusing to grant injunction, the tribunal issued a notice to Star and asked it to file a reply within four weeks while a rejoinder, if any, can be filed within two weeks thereafter.

The DTH operators have contended that Clause 6 of the agreement dated 25 April entitles it to a reduction in the license fee, which in the case of Life OK is 8% and in the case of Life OK HD 7%.

Contesting Dish TV–Videocon d2h’s stand, Star India argued that the channels do not become FTA channels just because they are launched on Freedish, which does not need to pay subscription fee to broadcasters since it does not collect anything from the customer. It also said that there is no similarity between Freedish and Dish TV–Videocon d2h.

The broadcaster also placed a chart before the tribunal containing the list of eight paid channels that are available on Freedish while continuing to remain pay channels as carried by Videocon d2h or Dish TV.

“In the facts of the case, we are not persuaded to issue any restraining order or injunction on the proposal of respondent No. 1 to have the channels in question on DD Freedish on a future date,” the tribunal said in its order.

It also made it clear that payments made by the DTH operators to Star India as per the agreement will be without unilateral reduction in rate and will be subject to the outcome of the petition.

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