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Consumers in lurch, Tata Sky expects them to bear with it

The DTH operator defends switching off Sony and India Today Group channels citing commercial interests but fails to address consumers’ pain

As Tata Sky switched off many channels from Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and India Today Group — making 11 channels available on missed calls by consumers — the broadcasters accused the DTH player of acting unilaterally and making consumers suffer.

Though the reason behind the standoff is clearly failed commercial negotiations, the broadcasters, referring to the TRAI guidelines, told BestMediaInfo.com that Tata Sky did not adhere to the mandate by not running the 15-day scroll/ticker notification and giving a three-week notice for consumers.

Responding to the allegation, the Tata Sky spokesperson told BestMediaInfo.com that the operator had released an ad on September 15, informing subscribers about the dropping of these channels in 15 days should they fail to come to an agreement with the broadcaster.

If the negotiations had failed, industry and consumers wondered why the DTH operator allowed 11 channels. Explaining their rationale, the Tata Sky spokesperson said, “We have retained the channels with good viewership numbers, at a la carte rates and are paying a huge premium to Sony as per their rate card versus contracted rates, in the interest of our subscribers.”

When asked about the logic of missed calls to continue watching 11 channels selected by the DTH operator, the spokesperson said, “Without a mutual contract in place, the broadcaster demands to be paid for every box user of these channels. For Tata Sky to be able to pay on behalf of the subscribers for the exact number of people viewing these channels, we have introduced this simple step.”

Many consumers took to social media to express their difficulties in getting through to the missed call as the lines were mostly busy and most of the consumers had to struggle in the process to get the channel back.

Asked if Tata Sky took this step without proper preparedness, the spokesperson defended saying, “We have multiple lines open for missed calls and are on track to keep adding additional lines as and when required. Please be assured that none of our subscribers’ missed calls have gone unnoticed.”

Once a missed was registered, it was processed. But the operator’s defence could not answer the concerns about the consumer not being able to get through to the missed call at all.

While Tata Sky kept pressing that customers who had already subscribed to the 11 retained channels just need to add them at no extra cost by giving a missed call, it did not address a consumer’s concern who has paid for the channels that were dropped.

When asked if the operator is actually worried about its brand image among consumers, it surprisingly requested the subscribers to bear with it until the closure of the negotiations.

“We hope to be able to positively close negotiations and get all our subscribers their desired channels as soon as possible. Tata Sky is committed and working in the interest of its subscribers and we request them to bear with us while we do so,” concluded the spokesperson.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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