NEW DELHI: Sector tribunal TDSAT has reprimanded Sun TV for not implementing its interim order and asked it to forthwith give signals of all its channels to TataSky on an a la carte basis, while the latter was given freedom to pay Sun on actual subscription as seen from SMS records.
The tribunal was yesterday hearing an appeal on its interim order issued earlier, and held that the consistent stand of TDSAT had been that interim orders must be complied with before any subsequent application for review was filed, and Sun had not done that.
In its significant pronouncement on 19 March that could have far-reaching implications for the broadcasting industry, the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal had passed the interim order asking Sun TV to stream its signals on an a la carte basis to TataSky, at 50 per cent of the cable charges.
However, Sun yesterday sought a review of the order trying to ride on a new angle, saying that if it had to give signals of all its channels to TataSky, it would violate its IPR agreement with many outside content providers who created programmes for it.
Sun argued that it has agreements with producers of programmes who are not its own in-house content makers, which are shown on some of its channels. The agreement between these outside producers and Sun TV is that their programmes could be shown on cable and satellite TV only, Sun's senior counsel said.
Thus, if these channels were shown on DTH (TataSky), it would contravene the agreements mentioned above, he averred.
Sun also wanted the tribunal to issue an order that TataSky ought to pay Sun for its entire subscription base, not on a la carte basis, that, is not for those subscribers alone who chose to watch Sun channels on the DTH platform.
TDSAT said that this was not acceptable to them, and asked Sun to give signals of all its channels to TataSky, but the latter would pay Sun on the tribunal stipulated 50 per cent of cable charges, but only for those number of subscribers who are actually watching Sun channels on TataSky.
At a point in time during the arguments, the tribunal said that all along it has been insisting on consumer interest, addressability, level playing fields for every player, transparency, etc., but if TataSky is asked to pay for its entire subscriber base, all that would go out the window.
The tribunal had held: "On merits, the main controversy revolves around the fact that the respondent wants to give all its 20 channels as a package and on a price quoted by it, whereas the petitioners' case is that the respondent has not made all its channels as part of a package or a bouquet.
"They are being offered on a-la-carte basis and therefore, the petitioner is entitled to take whatever channels it wants to take on the price quoted by respondent as part of a-la-carte rates reduced by 50 per cent."
Meanwhile, TataSky's DTH rival Dish TV, which plans to take Sun TV on its DTH platform, already has an agreement in place with Sun, but it will implement that after a joint marketing campaign with Sun TV is worked out, sources told indiantelevision.com.