Sony, Tata Sky carriage row
October 4, 2018
By Chris Forrester
Indian DTH operator Tata Sky has removed 27 channels operated by Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), including those owned by TV Today Networks. SPN transmit 22 channels.
Sony and Tata Sky have not renewed their carriage agreement, and Tata Sky had issued a formal disconnection notice to Sony and TV Today as of September 16th. Tata Sky says that talks with Sony had broken down because SPN’s demands would have forced Tata Sky to increase its own rates.
“Sony Pictures Networks India and Tata Sky have over the years developed an excellent working relationship. It is therefore unfortunate that Tata Sky has unilaterally chosen to drop 22 SPN channels from its subscription, even though SPN has not increased the rates of its channels,” the broadcaster said in its statement.
“SPN channels are leaders in their genres and the network is one of the most popular in the country. By unilaterally dropping the channels, Tata Sky is depriving its viewers of the opportunity to watch world-class entertainment and live sporting action. Further, by compelling existing subscribers to give separate “missed” calls even to continue watching the SPN channels they have already paid for, Tata Sky is not acting in consumer interest,” SPNI added.
Tata Sky’s statement said: “Tata Sky has dropped 27 channels and services from its platform from 01-Oct-2018 (00:00 hours). Commercial negotiations with broadcasters broke down because what they were seeking would have forced us to hike our prices. Hence, we have had to drop a few channels while keeping the popular ones on. Please bear with us for some time because we are doing this in our subscriber’s interest,” the DTH operator said in a public statement.
This is not the only carriage dispute between these two major businesses. Tata Sky is also in long-running talks with Zee’s cluster of channels and IndiaCast, a significant distributor of channels, over fees and has issued disconnection notices against Zee and IndiaCast.