The dispute between DTH service provider Tata Sky and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) seems to be getting worse with every passing day as the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has now asked both the parties to settle down the issue within four weeks. Earlier, both Tata Sky and SPN India stated that they’re open to negotiations and talks since the major issue for the former was pricing. The direct-to-home service provider said that SPN had demanded Rs 1,700 crore for the contract renewal, which of course, didn’t go well with Tata Sky since SPN no longer has the rights to broadcast India Premier League (IPL).
TDSAT Directs Tata Sky and SPN India to Settle Down the Issue
As mentioned above, TDSAT has entered the picture now as Tata Sky subscribers are facing issues with the absence of SPN channels. “…we direct both the parties to sit across the table and try to work out a mutually acceptable negotiated agreement within a period of four weeks from today. If required the parties may seek an extension of the period, TDSAT said in its order on October 12.
The matter has been listed for November 11 for considering the outcome of the fresh round of negotiations which the parties are to carry out in the meantime, according to Press Trust of India.
What’s the Issue Between Tata Sky and SPN India?
Earlier this month, Tata Sky removed 32 channels of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and three of TV Today Network on pricing issues. SPN’s three-year contract with Tata Sky had expired on July 31, and the two since then have been negotiating on a new pricing deal.
The contract tenure between SPN and Tata Sky came to an end on July 31. After the talks for a negotiated agreement did not yield any result, SPN served a notice to Tata Sky on September 7, followed by a public notice on September 10. Consequently, Tata Sky opted for an RIO-based agreement effective September 30 midnight for ten channels.
SPN India Sought Rs 1,700 Crore for Contract Renewal
This is an interesting aspect which came out recently. Tata Sky had pointed out that negotiations failed because the demand was for Rs 1,700 crore and that too when the right of telecasting IPL matches was no longer available with SPN as it has been won recently by another broadcaster. Under the old terms, SPN was getting Rs 800 crore approximately.
So SPN India is now seeking more than double the amount of previous contract value and that too without the rights of IPL. For the unaware, Sony India owned the rights to broadcast IPL matches for ten years since 2008. But in September 2017, Star India pipped Sony to bag the rights for four years- 2018-2022.