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TDSAT tells Tata Sky, SPN to work out a solution; next hearing on Nov 11

Following the dispute regarding airing the channels of the Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) bouquet on Tata Sky, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) heard the case on October 11, 2019. 

Appearing on behalf of SPN, senior counsel Dushyant Dave petitioned that after opting for an RIO-based agreement, Tata Sky limited its acceptance of the offer to 10 channels only out of a total of 32 channels of the petitioner, which was available under the agreement between the two parties. It may be noted here, that SPN and Tata Sky had executed an Interconnect Agreement between themselves which ended on July 31, 2018. When subsequent talks for a negotiated settlement didn’t yield results, the two parties entered into the RIO-based agreement with effect from the midnight of September 30, 2018. 

Dave petitioned that by offering only 10 channels of SPN, Tata Sky had not been fair to those customers and subscribers who were earlier viewing all 32 channels of SPN. 

On the other hand, Kapil Sibal, the senior counsel appearing on behalf of Tata Sky submitted that SPN as a licensee had approached TDSAT “only for business interest and is not competent to advocate and represent public interest or the interest of the subscribers/ consumers. 

Sibal added that the negotiations between SPN and Tata Sky had failed because the broadcaster had demanded Rs 1,700 crore, whereas as per the old agreement SPN was getting Rs 800 crore. 

After hearing both the parties, TDSAT stated that it would not grant any interim relief so as to re-introduce the old agreement, even for a period of 4 weeks as per the interim prayer. 

Instead, the Tribunal directed both SPN and Tata Sky to sit across the table and work out a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement with a period  of 4 weeks from the day of the ruling (October 11, 2018). 

It set November 19, 2018 as the next date for hearing for considering the outcome of the fresh round of negotiations which both the parties are to carry out in the meantime.

Click here to read the complete TDSAT ruling. 

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