New Delhi : While the MSO Hathway has put the Multi Screen Media (MSM Media Distribution) channels under ROI (reference-interconnect offer), the later has got a short in the arm with the ruling of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
The TDSAT orders Hathway regarding the multi-system operator’s (MSO) decision to shift to an ROI or a la carte business model before the existing contract concluded, the TDSAT on 14th August had passed an order recording the undertaking by Hathway Cable & Datacom (Hathway) to pay Rs 14.5 crore towards subscription fee dues to MSM Media Distribution.
The MSO has until 31st October to clear the dues. TDSAT ruled that Hathway had to honour the commitment under the deal for the entire term for DAS Phase I areas till 31st October and has to pay the subscription fees in accordance with the deal.
Rajesh Kaul, President, MSM Media Distribution said, “The order is a good sign for the industry that the MSO has been asked to honour the contract with us. It will set a precedent in the industry.”
Makarand Palekar, EVP – Sales and Marketing, MSM Media Distribution, said, “We have two contracts with Hathway – one for DAS Phase 1 and the other for Phase 2. The contract for Phase 1 expires on October 31, 2015, while the contract for Phase 2 had expired in March this year. The outstanding dues for both (Phase 1, Phase 2) are around Rs 58-60 crore. TDSAT has issued issue an order asking Hathway to clear the dues for Phase 1 (around Rs 15 crore) by October 31, 2015.”
“Hathway forms one of our biggest customer base with over 5 million subscribers. Despite holding a few discussions with them – and we even gave them 2-3 offers – they refused to revert. They talked of RIO (Reference Interconnect Offer) based deal, but as per the rules, no MSO can do so without clearing outstanding subscriptions fees. We were very surprised that they blocked signals to all MSM network channels. In Mumbai, the signal wasn’t blocked in areas like Dahisar, Bandra and other Western suburbs, where they are in joint venture. However, in areas where they function independently, like South Mumbai, they’d blocked our channels completely. Same was the case in some areas in Delhi and Kolkata,” Palekar added.
Under the order, Hathway can move to RIO or ala-carte model for MSM channels whichinclude Sony Entertainment Television, Sony Pix, Sony Six, Sab TV, AXN and Sony Max. However, the MSO will have to continue paying the broadcaster as per the current contract, irrespective of the model followed until 31st October, when the agreement expires.