Sony, Tata Sky end deadlock by signing a new content deal

MUMBAI: Ending almost two months of deadlock broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and direct to home (DTH) operator Tata Sky have reached an agreement. The channels have been added back by the DTH operator with effect from 6 December.

As a result, the DTH operator has added back all SD and HD channels from the SPNI bouquet. The broadcaster owns and operates 18 SD and 11 HD channels.

The agreement between the parties had expired on 31 July. The two parties couldn’t reach an agreement due to differences over commercial terms. As a result, Tata Sky had removed 22 of the 29 SPNI channels from the bouquet and placed them on an a-la-carte basis.

It had retained certain channels in its bouquet for customers who had already paid the subscription fee.

“Tata Sky has all Sony channels on the platform. There will be no extra charges. You can continue to enjoy your choice of entertainment as always. Thank you for your support and cooperation,” Tata Sky said in a message to a subscriber on Twitter.

Incidentally, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had directed the parties to work out a mutually acceptable agreement in four weeks from 11 October.

Sony had moved TDSAT against Tata Sky’s decision to restrict the number of Sony channels that it was offering to its customers. Tata Sky had offered to provide

only 10 Sony channels to its customers under the reference interconnect offer (RIO) agreement.

The broadcaster was said to be demanding Rs 1700 crore as subscription fee for a multi-year deal with the DTH operator.

Recently, the tribunal had directed the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to conduct an audit of DTH operator’s system following a request by SPNI.