Broadcast appellate tribunal TDSAT has asked sector regulator TRAI to consider the demand of multi-system operators for greater share in revenues under the Conditional Access System — the new cable TV delivery system.
Multi-system operators (MSOs), or large cable operators, have been demanding a share in the Rs 77 charged for free-to-air channels under CAS regime.
At present, the fee paid by cable viewers in notified areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai goes to local cable operators.
TDSAT, which was hearing a petition by Zee's SitiCable, sent the matter back to TRAI for a re-look and gave the regulator six weeks to act.
"The issue, in our view, is of great importance and (holds) wide repercussions for MSOs and cable operators... keeping all the aspects in consideration, we think that TRAI should give a hearing to the concerned parties before arriving at a decision on the issue," the TDSAT bench headed by Chairman Justice Arun Kumar said.
"We feel that TRAI would be in a right position to do so. Let TRAI take a decision on this," Kumar said, adding that all stakeholders "should cooperate with TRAI" as no cable operator has come forward on the issue so far.
SitiCable, one of the country's biggest MSOs, had challenged TRAI's August 24, 2006, notification that allowed local/area cable operators to retain all basic-tier service fee collected from the customer.
However, TRAI had mandated that revenue generated by the pay channels will be distributed in the following proportion — 45 per cent to broadcaster, 30 per cent to MSOs and the rest 25 per cent to the local/area cable operator.