tata sky

Tata Sky Says Dropped Channels to Protect Subscriber Interest

Tata Sky removed Sony Ten and 31 other channels of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and three channels of India Today Network over pricing issues on 1 October

The Tata Sky and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) issue continues to rage on. While consumers have the option of activating the channels in question by simply giving a missed call on the number specified on the television screens that has not stopped them from complaining on the matter. Tata Sky has now started to defend its move of removing Sony Ten and 31 other channels of SPN and three channels of India Today Network over pricing issues.

Tata Sky is tweeting to almost every consumer who is complaining about the unavailability of channels saying the company has taken the measure as the broadcaster had demanded to be paid for every box user of these channels, which in turn would have forced Tata Sky to hike their prices.

“Hi, we understand what this has been like for you. Commercial negotiations with the broadcasters broke down as 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,” says a tweet from the official account of Tata Sky.

However, the official account of Sab TV strongly denied having increased their prices and asked viewers to ‘call or tweet to Tata Sky and demand that the Sony channels be made available’.

Tata SkyCredit: Sab TV

Credit: Sab TV

Those venting their ire on social media platforms are especially those who were looking forward to watching the UEFA Champions League. Although fans can still watch UCL live online for free on their mobile devices, they continue to tweet to Tata Sky to bring Sony channels back on TV. This issue may soon be put to rest, nonetheless with Jio DTH expected to come out soon, how the consumers react to this issue will be seen.

Current Market Scenario: Tata Sky, Hathway and Jio GigaFiber

Tata Sky currently dominates the DTH market with 16 million subscribers. The DTH provider saw a six million jump over three years, says a report on Business Standard. Five million of these subscribers are HD subscribers and the number is growing steadily. According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, Tata Sky has 24 percent market share at the end of 2017, which was about 1 percent higher when compared to the previous year.

However, Jio GigaFiber is all set to enter the market, which could disrupt the broadband scenario that currently exists. Jio GigaFiber is expected to be offered at 50% of the price of those offered by competitors, a marketing technique the Reliance owned company has applied in the telecom sector successfully.

Recent reports suggest that to remove the last hurdle that Jio GigaFiber is facing in terms of resistance from local cable operators, Jio is in talks to acquire Mumbai-based Hathway Cable and Datacom, in order to speed up the commercial launch of Jio GigaFiber.

Also Read: Jio GigaFiber Could Launch Sooner Than Anticipated in India

Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited is currently one of the largest Multi-System Operator (MSO) and Cable Broadband service providers in India. Hathway also has over 52 percent share of the total MSO cable broadband market with over 0.66 million subscribers. Hathway’s network connects 7.5 million community access television (CATV) households and 7.2 million digital cable subscribers. The company offers cable television services across 350 cities and major towns. Hathway’s HD subscribers are around 170 thousand in numbers.

This move may give an edge to Jio if the deal is pushed through as it would mean the entry of Jio DTH into the market as Jio GigaTV set-top box will come along with the Jio GigaFiber. Jio DTH will also allow its users to make video calls along with features like smart remote in several Indian languages as well as with voice command support. Jio GigaTV set-top box will also offer Ultra HD entertainment, multi-party video conferencing, voice activated virtual assistant, virtual reality gaming, shopping and smart home solutions.

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