Cable guys vs Tata Sky

The sniping between cable networks and DTH operators has broken out into an open war, writes Gurbir Singh.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 18:03 IST

The sniping between cable networks and DTH operators has broken out into open war. Tata Sky's DTH campaign to 'book' blocks of subscribers even before starting its service has provoked Mumbai cable networks to retaliate.

Most networks have pulled the plug on STAR One (STAR is a minority partner in Tata Sky).

Tata Sky has been giving better packages than cable operators, offering housing societies connections to all flats through a single dish.

What seems to have riled operators most is a promotional leaflet that caricatures the cablewallah. "It portrays us as thugs with buttons open, a handkerchief round the neck," said Ravi Singh, VP of the Cable Operators and Distributors Association (CODA).

Singh said Tata Sky had no licence and no broadcasters agreement, but was still promising packages of Rs 200 to Rs 300 with a month's free trial.

"We'll challenge Tata Sky's plans before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal," Singh added.

But Tata Sky CEO Vikram Kaushik denied selling any commercial packages. He said they were "surveying" the market to see whether consumers wanted single connections or wired common connections.

Kaushik said the 'Multi-Dwelling Unit' solution was an international norm. A STAR spokesperson said the network was being unfairly targeted since it is merely a minority partner in Tata Sky.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 18:03 IST