With Tata Sky dropping SPN channels, subscribers left in the lurch

Subscribers of Tata Sky have been left in the lurch with the impasse continuing in the case of the DTH service provider dropping as many as 22 channels of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), along with Aaj Tak. 

Calling the move “unfortunate”, SPN in a statement issued said, “By unilaterally dropping the channels, Tata Sky is depriving its viewers of the opportunity to watch world class entertainment and live sporting action.” 

While Harit Nagpal, CEO & MD of Tata Sky, in a statement issued, informed, “Commercial negotiations with the broadcasters broke down as what they were seeking would have forced us to hike our prices”, SPN maintained that it had not increased the rates of its channels. 

As per TRAI’s Interconnection Regulation (Chapter VI) regarding disconnection of signals of television channels: “No service provider shall disconnect the signals of television channels without giving at least three weeks’ notice in writing to other service provider, clearly specifying the reasons for the proposed disconnection.” The regulation further states, “The distributor of television channels shall, 15 days prior to the date of disconnection, inform the subscriber, through scrolls on the channels proposed to be disconnected, the date of disconnection of signals of such television channels.” 

In this case, Tata Sky subscribers were caught off-guard when the SPN channels were disconnected. Several subscribers take up long-term plans, wherein they pay in advance to watch the channels in their preferred viewing plans. Thus dropping the channels that subscribers have paid for in advance to watch is breach of contract. 

Tata Sky has asked its subscribers to give a missed call on the numbers appearing on their screens to watch a channel. SPN berated this by stating, “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 consumers’ interest.” 

People took to social media to vent their ire. Several complained that it was impossible to get through to the numbers given by Tata Sky, and even if one did get through to give the missed call, the channel was not restored. 

Due to the current imbroglio, Tata Sky subscribers were not able to view the much publicised episode of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ aired on October 2, 2018, which revealed Season 10’s first crorepati winner, Binita Jain. ‘KBC 10’ has been recording consistently high ratings, with 7,831 TVRs recorded in Week 36 of BARC ratings.


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