Hathway switchoff had no impact on our reach: Makarand Palekar

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) recently passed an order directing Hathway Cable & Datacom (Hathway) to pay Rs.14.56 crore towards subscription fee dues to MSM Media Distribution. Hathway would have to pat this amount before the expiry of the agreement on 31st October 2015.

Explaining its relationship with Hathway, Makarand Palekar, Senior VP, Sales and affiliate Relations,The OneAlliance states, “Hathway is our biggest customer, let me say that on record. We had three contracts with them. One was for Phase I Das area, Phase II Das area analog.”

As to what led to the discord between the two parties, he says, “Phase I Das contract is still prevailing which is till 31st October 2015, whereas Phase II got over in March 2015. Unfortunately, Hathway has piled up a huge outstanding towards MSM channels over subscription amounts which is pending for more than 6 months now.”He continues, “Somewhere in the month of May, they wrote to us, saying we also owe them some sort of carriage. We in turn told them that the amount they had to pay us was huge.Before we could react or meet, they had terminated all our channels across the country as well as terminated all our agreements.”

As an outcome of that MSM switched off its channels in PhaseII analog because the contract was not renewed and the money was not paid.As for PhaseI it approached TDSAT. Palekar informs,“TDSAT has passed a very favourable order for us, which states that they have to clear close to Rs 15cr till 31st October. Court has taken a very serious view over this and has stated that once you sign the contract, you can’t escape the liability, you have to pay. Currently in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata , we have kept the signals on. Hathway is not showing in entire Mumbai, but in Kolkata and Delhi, the channels are off. We have close to 60 crore to collect from Hathway all India.”

As per Palekar, switching off the channels had no impact on MSM channels’ reach and ratings. He says, “Fortunately in the past month there has been absolutely no impact in the ratings. It could be because of BARC coming in and TAM moving out. And as there is no impact on ratings, it means that there is no impact on reach either.”


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