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India’s Dish TV and MSO operator Siti Cable are already partners via their shared ownership by Subhash Chandra’s giant conglomerate Essel Group. They have also just set up a new joint venture in the shape of ‘Comnet’, which they want to act a unified programme and channel buying operation.
Dish TV’s CEO RC Venkateish has told India’s Television Post that Comnet is open to other players, even rivals. “While it will negotiate with the broadcasters on behalf of the two companies, ultimately the contracts will be done individually,” he stated.
He also admitted that Comnet is “actively talking” to a couple of other distribution platforms to join. “Having a common entity that is dealing with over 30 million subscribers can change the game.” Previous discussions with both Cideonet d2h and Bharti Airtel to conduct joint distribution discussions came to nothing, but Venkateish said that proof of success in future discussions could change the overall picture.
He hinted that upcoming carriage discussions with Rupert Murdoch-backed Star India is one deal that will be negotiated by Comnet.