Broadcast tribunal TDSAT has issued a notice to sports broadcaster ESPN on a multi-system operator's plea over a dispute relating to provision of subscriber base data.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) bench, headed by Chairman Justice S B Sinha, directed ESPN and the multi-system operator (MSO), Nirman and Associates, to maintain status quo, and ordered that the signal must not be disconnected.
However, the MSO was told to enhance its subscription charge by 75 per cent from March 2010.
"For the purpose of passing an interim order, we are of the opinion that interest of justice would be subserved if the petitioner (MSO) is directed to pay the increased amount by 75 per cent of the existing subscription amount payable from March 2010," the tribunal said.
Earlier, ESPN had issued a mandatory 21 days' disconnection notice to the MSO as it was allegedly not furnishing data on the number of its subscribers.
Following the Broadcasting and Cable Services Regulation passed by TRAI, it had also posted a public notice in a local newspaper.
In response, the MSO approached TDSAT to request a stay on the disconnection notice. It contended that there was no ambiguity with regard to its subscriber base, as they have been regularly sending Subscriber Line Reports -- reflecting the number of its viewers -- to ESPN.
The MSO further submitted that TDSAT had, in an order dated October 15, 2009, directed that status quo must be maintained and, hence, the disconnection notice was illegal.
Reacting to this, ESPN contended that the MSO was only giving out information on the number of local/area cable operators and not the total viewership base.