TataSky Terminates Sony Channels over Pricing Row, Faces Backlash from Subscribers
New Delhi: The deadlock between Tata Sky and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) hit a crescendo on Monday evening when the direct-to-home (DTH) platform removed 32 channels of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and three from the India Today Network because of differences over pricing.
TV channels such as Sony Entertainment Television, SAB, Max, AXN, Sony Pix, Aaj Tak and India Today TV distributed by SPN were taken off the air by Tata Sky on October 1.
According to an Economic Times report, the longstanding dispute between the two broadcast giants began in July ahead of the renewal of SPN’s three-year contract with Tata Sky.
Three years ago, Tata Sky’s subscriber base was around 10 million, which has now gone up to 16 million and SPN sought a hike in its monthly rates considering the phenomenal growth rate of the former. However, TataSky was unwilling to crack the deal.
Harit Nagpal, MD, Tata Sky said that commercial negotiations with SPN “broke down” as what they were seeking would have “forced” the DTH operator to raise prices, said the ET report.
The suspension of channels has triggered intense backlash from subscribers, who poured out their dissatisfaction on the social network and criticized the decision profusely. Meanwhile, SPN issued a statement calling the decision “unfortunate.”
A spokesperson at SPN told ET that it had “not increased” the rates of its channels and blamed the DTH service provider for depriving its viewers of the opportunity to watch world-class entertainment and live sporting action.
SPN has further blamed Tataky for complicating matters and “not acting in consumer’s interest”, as subscribers now have to give a “missed call” to continue watching SPN channels they have already paid for.
Tata Sky has kept 10 SPN channels (SET, SET HD, Sony SAB, MAX, Sony Six, Sony Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony Ten 3 and Pix HD) and one India Today channel (Aaj Tak) on the platform.
Several subscribers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter have complained that the phone number provided by Tata Sky is continuously busy or not reachable, and that the customer care service has crashed.