- Last year, due to a spat with SPNI, Tata Sky had discontinued Sony channels on its platform
- Trai has asked questions relevant to the matter from Tata Sky
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), on July 8 has directed Tata Sky nailing the DTH service provider over the breaching of DTH Quality of Service norms 2007. The sector regulator has also sought some information from the DTH service provider. Trai also uploaded the direction notice sent to Tata Sky on its website as well. On reading the direction, it came to observation that the matter why Tata Sky has been slapped with a direction that also pertains to the tussle between Sony and Tata Sky which happened last year.
Spat Between Tata Sky and Sony Pictures Network India
To recall, the telecom regulator had directed Tata Sky back on October 5, 2019, asking it to compile a detailed report why it had discontinued SPN India’s channels on its platform. Trai also asked Tata Sky to inform the regulator what steps it is taking to mitigate the situation of no SPN channels. To this enquiry, Tata Sky had responded that while it wanted to continue with Sony Picture Network India on its previous terms, both the parties could not conclude the negotiation on a positive note since Sony Pictures was demanding an extremely high amount from Tata Sky. Then Tata Sky informed that the Telecom Disputes and Settlements Appellate Tribunal dealt with the statements made by Sony and passed a reasoned order rejecting the relief which SPNI sought from the tribunal. The tribunal then ordered both the parties to come to a mutually acceptable agreement within a period of four weeks.
Trai then observed that Tata Sky failed to explain its reasons for not complying with the DTH QoS regulations of 2007. There was also no statement from Tata Sky stating the steps it had taken to protect the rights of consumers during the violation of these norms. The regulator had later found out about the disconnection of 26 other channels and directed the service provider to clarify its stance on the matter.
Tata Sky’s Response to Trai
Tata Sky, in its response to the regulator, said that prior to the disconnection of the channels it had issued an advertisement on newspaper dated September 16, 2018. The DTH company also added that it had provided a replacement to the channels which were discontinued. Tata Sky also added that refunds are being credited to the accounts of subscribers. In regard to the mention of the media report, the channels are being discontinued for reasons of ‘Expiry of Agreement’ and ‘Breach of Agreement’.
On noticing that Tata Sky has given no reasons on measures undertaken for?providing choice to the consumers, the service provider was directed to provide explicit options to consumers highlighting the policy of refunds, as applicable and to submit clear compliance of the relevant provisions, including the details of the refund credited to the consumers for the period of discontinuance of the channel. Even after asking for more time, and its reply back Tata Sky failed to convey the process which was undertaken to process the refunds. After this, Tata Sky noted that it has come to an agreement with Tata Sky which is worth Rs 985 crores for a three-year term with an additional payout of up to 25% of the fixed deal basis viewership. The Trai did not find the answers from Tata Sky satisfactory and asked Tata Sky to submit all information, including the pertaining data from the time of discontinuation of channels to the regulator within ten days.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.