It is using its dominant position in the state to the hilt by forcing its hand on broadcasters to reduce subscription fee. After issuing disconnection notice to MediaPro, Tamil Nadu government-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation has decided to take on Star Sports India.
The multi-system operator (MSO) has issued a 21-day mandatory disconnection notice informing its subscribers and linked local cable operators (LCOs) that three of the four Star Sports India-distributed standard definition (SD) channels are liable for disconnection due to breach of letter of acceptance and non-conclusion of price negotiation.
Arasu said that Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports 4 would be switched off 21 days from the publication of the notice.
According to an industry source from Chennai, Arasu is pushing for a 50 per cent reduction in subscription fee from Star Sports. Its payout for carrying the Star Sports bouquet is Rs. 2.3 crore ( Rs. 23 million) per month, added the source.
Arasu has similarly asked for a 50 per cent reduction in subscription fee from Media Pro, which distributes 78 channels from the Star, ZEE and Turner bouquet. Its monthly payout to Media Pro is Rs. 4.5 crore ( Rs. 45 million).
Sun TV Network is also in talks with Arasu for a fresh deal with a higher subscription fee. Currently, Arasu pays Rs. 2.5 crore ( Rs. 25 million) per month for the Sun TV channels.
Arasu has a subscriber base of 6.21 million as of 1 September 2013, with an operator base of 24,619 spread across the state. Arasu provides around 100 channels to cable TV subscribers at Rs. 70 per month.
It may be recalled that Star Sports recently switched off signals to Gujarat Telelinks Pvt Ltd (GTPL). It also issued disconnection notices to Siti Cable and IndusInd Media & Communications Limited (IMCL).
Source: Television Post, 28 December