The Indian arm of ESPN and Subhash Chandra-led Dish TV are locked in a bitter dispute with the multinational broadcaster threatening, through a public notice, to pull off signals to the satellite-based distribution firm.
ESPN, accusing Dish TV of unauthorised use of its signals, is threatening to deactivate three popular sports channels, ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket in 21 days, saying there has been no agreement between the two on the disputed issues.
Dish TV, bracing for a battle, has called it a “pressure tactic.”
ESPN Software India’s public notice, issued on Monday, said: “This is to inform subscribers of Dish TV India… that ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket services… are liable for de-activation after expiry of 21 days due to non-signing of agreement, illegal provisioning/retransmission of services and breach of applicable regulations including reporting requirements.”
RC Venkateish, the CEO of Dish TV, denied that there were any issues with ESPN India. “I simply do not understand the reason for this notice,” he said. “There is absolutely no ground for ESPN India (to issue this notice).”
Venkateish said his company had settled all payments with ESPN till September, and October has just ended. “This is a mere pressure tactic employed by broadcasters to gain leverage with DTH players.”
Incidentally, Venkatesh was the country head at ESPN India before he took over the reins of Dish TV around two years ago. ESPN India refused to add to its statement on the issue.