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Production / Distribution

Tribunal favours Dish TV in ROI row with ESS

ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has been ordered to raise fees for Indian direct to home (DTH) platform Dish TV by the Telecommunications Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat).

Dish TV has been permitted by Tdsat to recover an estimated INR 250 million excess payment to ESPN Software India, which operates the ESPN, Star Cricket and Star Sports channels in India.

The directive follows Dish TV's attempted move from a fixed fee to a reference interconnect order (RIO) agreement, covering DTH distribution of the three sports channels to 1 September 2011.

"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," RC Venkateish, chief executive, Dish TV, is quoted as saying by Indian Television.

"The said judgment will bring order in the industry and will also enable the DTH operator to continue providing the channels to the subscribers on affordable and competitive rate," he added.

In July 2011, Dish TV told ESS that it would distribute its channels on an RIO basis from September 2011 until June 2012. However, ESS refused to raise invoices on the basis of Dish's RIO rates, instead keeping the charges in line with the previous fixed fee agreement, reached in March 2009.

Dish TV has continued payments to ESS under the fixed arrangement while awaiting the case to be considered by Tdsat.

The tribunal has requested the two parties now forge an agreement governed by a modified RIO from 1 September 2011.

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