HEADLINES:
November 20 2018
Settle dispute via talks, TDSAT tells Tata Sky, Sony Pictures
13 October 2018

The disagreement was about revenue-sharing between the two parties

In the ongoing dispute between Tata Sky and Sony Pictures Network (SPN), the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed the two firms to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement over revenue-sharing in four weeks. It has also dismissed SPN’s request to go back to the old agreement as interim relief.

“…we direct both the parties to sit across the table and try to work out a mutually acceptable negotiated agreement within a period of four weeks from today,” the TDSAT order said, adding that the two may seek an extension of this period.

Earlier this month, Tata Sky had dropped 22 channels of SPN from its network following a disagreement over revenue-sharing. Tata Sky asked its existing subscribers to give separate missed calls to be able to continue watching 11 channels that include SET, Sony SAB, Sony Six, Sony Ten and Sony Pix HD, besides TV Today’s Aaj Tak.

Negotiations failed

The order noted SPN was getting about ₹800 crore under the old terms, and the negotiations failed as the “demand was for ₹1,700 crore which was too high when the right of telecasting IPL matches was no longer available with the petitioner (SPN).” Following this, subscribers soon took to social media to complain regarding difficulties in accessing missed call services, customer care services and restoration of some of these channels. In addition, subscribers who have already paid yearly and monthly subscription fees to Tata Sky questioned its move to drop these channels.As stated in the TDSAT order, both the parties had executed an interconnect agreement which ended on July 31. When the talks for negotiations did not yield result, SPN served a disconnection notice on September 7 under which it could disconnect the signals of its channels to Tata Sky’s platform after 21 days. After exchange of emails and letters, Tata Sky opted for a Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO)-based agreement. “It limited its acceptance of the offer as per RIO to 10 channels only out of total of 32 channels of the petitioner which it was availing under the agreement,” it said.

“On careful perusal of the relevant materials…we are of the view that now when the parties are being governed by terms of petitioner’s [SPN] RIO…effective from 01.10.2018 after notice to viewers… it would not be in the interest of justice or equity to grant any interim relief so as to reintroduce the old agreement even for a period of four week as per the interim prayer,” TDSAT said in the order.

 

 

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