Companies

Broadcasters, MSOs yet to conclude agreements

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

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In a run-up to the first phase of the digitisation deadline, multi system operators (MSOs) and broadcasters were advised to sign their interconnection agreements by July 31. They have not concluded these negotiations as yet.

Interconnection agreements define the terms at which broadcasters provide their content to cable operators. Signing of these agreements is a pre-requisite for achieving various benchmarks necessary for a complete switchover to a digital cable network. According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in early July, MSOs and television channels as well as aggregators of television channels had to conclude their interconnection agreements prior to July 31. They were also supposed to submit it to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The I&B Ministry is learnt to be unhappy because of this delay in signing of these agreements between stakeholders and is likely to take a tough stand in the coming days. It is also not happy with the slow pace of the process. Only Mumbai seems to have achieved the 50 per cent digitisation mark.

Most MSOs had given assurances to the Government that digitisation would be concluded well before the new extended deadline.

Sources in TRAI also said they have not yet received any information on interconnection deals from stakeholders but have received indications from various players that they are trying to conclude these crucial agreements.

As of now, only one MSO and television channel aggregator are known to have concluded their agreement.

Ashok Mansukhani, President of MSO Alliance, said, “All the stakeholders are in the process of completing the negotiations.”

Added MSM Discovery President, Rajesh Kaul, “We have concluded some agreements and we are in the process of negotiations with all the parties involved.” MSM Discovery is one of the leading aggregators of television channels. Aggregators of television channels distribute a bouquet of channels to cable operators and DTH service providers and negotiate the financial agreements on behalf of these channels.

Meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 03, 2012

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