D2h, the DTH service from Dish TV India Ltd, has added support for several channel packs from Star India, in an apparent deviation from its earlier stance.
The DTH operator had, like rival Sun Direct, omitted all channel packs from Star India when it came out with its list of supported broadcaster packs.
There have been tension between broadcasters like Star and platform providers like DTH companies in the context of the roll out of TRAI’s new tariff model from Feb 1.
Under TRAI’s new channel pricing rules, DTH companies can sell channels and packs only subject to the retail prices or MRPs set by the channel owners.
Most of the channel owners have priced individual channels very high, hoping to push their channel packs instead.
By doing so, broadcasters have effectively taken the power of forming packages out of the hands of the DTH and cable companies. This has frustrated cable and DTH companies as they can no longer support the genre- and language-based packs that they used to offer.
DTH companies responded by refusing to support many of the packages designed by broadcasters. For example, Sony and Star both found most of their packages boycotted by Sun Direct and D2h.
However, the latest move by D2h to extend support to Star packs indicates that broadcasters and platform providers may have reached a negotiated settlement on supporting broadcasters’ packs on cable and DTH platforms.
Meanwhile, some customers have complained about certain cable and DTH platforms offering packs without offering all the channels contained in the packs.
For example, Airtel Digital does not offer channels Baby TV HD and Nat Geo Wild HD — both of which are part of Star’s Premium HD packages. This, however, has not prevented Airtel Digital from offering the Star Premium HD packs and charging the full price for it.
Under the new rules stipulated by TRAI, no cable or DTH player can modify a broadcaster package, either in terms of the pricing or in terms of the constituent channels.