Antrix disconnects transponder service to Reliance Big TV

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MUMBAI: In yet another setback for direct to home (DTH) operator Reliance Big TV, the Antrix Corporation has disconnected the transponder service to the DTH operator over non-renewal of agreement and non-payment of outstanding dues.

RBTV was using satellite operator MEASAT’s transponders for providing DTH service. Indian DTH operators have to go through Antrix for hiring transponders even from foreign satellite operators.

Beginning 15 April, Reliance Big TV’s DTH service had come to a standstill due to Antrix’s decision. Sources in Antrix and Reliance Big TV confirmed the development to TelevisionPost.com. One of the sources also said that the DTH operator is in talks with Antrix to renew the agreement.

The move comes as a double whammy for the DTH operator, which was already facing disconnection of signals from broadcasters due to non-payment of dues.

As reported by TelevisionPost.com, the tribunal had on 22 March clearly told RBTV to either renew the deal with Antrix by 14 April or face disconnection of service. The tribunal had also directed the DTH operator to pay Rs. 25.92 crore by 31 March.

“The respondent would be at liberty to disconnect service to the petitioner if there is any default on the part of the petitioner in complying with the above directions within the time indicated,” the tribunal had said in its order.

RBTV had moved TDSAT in October 2017 against Antrix’s threat to suspend transponders due to non-payment of dues.

Earlier, Star, ZEEL, and Sun TV Network had discontinued signals to the DTH operator for non-payment of pending dues.

The TDSAT had on 9 April allowed other broadcasters Discovery Communications India, Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India, India Cast Media Distribution, ABP News Network, and Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL) to switch-off signals to the DTH operator.

Reliance Big TV is currently owned by Pantel Technologies and Veecon Media and Television. In November 2017, Reliance Communications had sold the DTH business under RBTV to Pantel and Veecon. Under the agreement, Pantel and Veecon had assumed the existing trade and contingent liabilities of the DTH company.

The DTH operator had recently launched a scheme wherein customers who buy a high definition (HD) HEVC set top box (STB) will get pay channels free of cost for a period of one year. The DTH operator had also said that it will also offer 500 free to air (FTA) channels free for five years.

Launched in August 2008, Reliance Digital TV had a 2% share of the active pay DTH subscribers in India, as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) report for the quarter ended December.

During FY16, Reliance Big TV had reported a net profit of Rs 232 crore on a total income of Rs 638 crore. In the FY15, the net profit was Rs 12 crore while the total income stood at Rs 994 crore.


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