Mumbai : Multi Screen Media (MSM) is in a tussle with multi-system operator (MSO) Hathway over distribution deals.
According to sources, the MSO has shifted all MSM channels to the reference-interconnect-offer (RIO) deal and has been running a scroll on its network since 12th August, informing viewers of the change.
The shift to RIO was effected on 13th August. MSM channels are Sony Entertainment Television, Sab TV, Sony Pix, Sony Six, Sony Mix, Sony Kix, and AXN.
Till 2014, these had been distributed along with the Discovery Networks India portfolio of channels under the distribution joint venture One Alliance.
The JV was dissolved with effect from 1st January and the channels are now distributed by the respective networks in accordance with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai)’s guidelines on channel distribution.
In a RIO deal, the channel is available to the MSO on an a-la-carte basis instead of a part of a bouquet/bundle prepared by the broadcaster. In this, the MSO pays the broadcaster on a per customer basis.
The current deal (valid till October 31) between MSM and Hathway is a negotiated deal, where the MSM channels are available to the MSO as a bouquet and the individual channels can be packaged by Hathway.
According to sources, MSM has challenged Hathway’s move to shift its channels to RIO in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). Sources add that the decision was taken unilaterally by Hathway. In June, Hathway had said the business had become unviable and, hence, it needed to shift business to RIO. Since no proof was submitted to support this claim, MSM asked the MSO for an audit, monthly subscriber report and clearance of outstanding dues. The broadcaster also demanded that Hathway pay Rs 15 crore of outstanding dues.
The matter was up for hearing on 12th August in TDSAT and the order on the same is awaited.