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TDSAT rules in favour of Dish TV against ESPN Software India

Dish TV had petitioned the court seeking direction to move from fixed fee agreement to RIO based agreement for using ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket channels

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | April 12, 2012

TDSAT has ruled in favour of Dish TV in its case against ESPN Software India on the movement of the fixed fee agreement to RIO based agreement. Dish TV was transmitting ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket channels from ESPN Software India Private Limited (ESS) on fixed fee basis. The fixed fee agreement was valid upto June 2012.

However, with the reduction of quality content in these channels and the rights available to Dish TV as a DTH operator under the Interconnect Regulations of TRAI, Dish TV intimated ESS in July 2011 that it would be distributing the ESS channels on RIO basis with effect from September 1, 2011, and accordingly, ESS should raise the invoices on Dish TV on the basis of its RIO rates with effect from that date.

Dish TV’s demand for moving from fixed fee to RIO based agreement was not accepted by ESS. As a result, Dish TV approached TDSAT in September 2011 requesting that TDSAT directs ESS to raise the invoices on Dish TV from 01.09.2011 on the basis of RIO rates.

During the pendency of the matter, Dish TV continued to make the payment to ESS on the basis of fixed fee agreement. As a counter to the Dish TV petition, ESS preferred a petition before the Tribunal wherein they sought a direction against Dish TV to continue making payment as per the agreement executed dated 12.03.2009 and also to declare that the request of Dish TV to ask for RIO was not binding on them. ESS also sought specific performance of the MoU dated 12.03.2009 executed between Dish TV and ESS.

TDSAT allowed the Dish TV petition and dismissed the petition made by ESS and at the same time awarded costs to Dish TV.

Speaking on the judgment, RC Venkateish, CEO, Dish TV, said, “This judgment of TDSAT is a landmark judgment for the DTH industry clearly establishing the right of a DTH operator to move from a fixed fee arrangement to a RIO based agreement. The said judgment will bring order in the industry and will also enable the DTH operator to continue providing the channels to subscribers at affordable and competitive rate.”

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