Home/ Companies / News/  RIL’s cable firms spar with Star before IPL

NEW DELHI : Signalling an all out-war for eyeballs ahead of the 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), three large multi-system operators (MSOs)—Hathway Cable & Datacom, DEN Networks, and Gujarat’s dominant operator GTPL Hathway—are threatening Disney Star that they will remove Star Sports channels from their base packages.

Reliance Industries Ltd, which has a controlling stake in Viacom18, the digital media rights holder for IPL, owns a majority stake in DEN and Hathway, and an indirect 28% stake in GTPL Hathway.

An email query sent to Reliance Industries did not elicit any response till press time, while top officials in the three MSOs also did not revert to requests for comment.

GTPL Hathway’s website shows that from 1 April, its base pack (Power Lite Pack), which costs 325 per month, will not include Star Sports channels.

A source in Disney Star confirmed the development but brushed this off as a pressure tactic, and said the distribution teams are negotiating.

Earlier last month, when the top three broadcasters switched off signals to these cable operators after they failed to implement the new amended tariff order, there was a massive disconnection drive. and experts feel that the removal of Star Sports channels just before IPL may result in a further drop in subscribers, as viewers may move to digital or migrate to direct-to-home (DTH) service.

A Disney Star spokesperson refused to comment.

The move will force subscribers of these MSOs to either opt for higher value packages or opt for Star Sports channels a-la-carte.

Together, the three MSOs have a 12.5% share of pay TV universe. GTPL Hathway has 8 million subscribers, while Hathway has 4.7 million, and DEN caters to 4 million subscribers across the country.

A media analyst said if these channels are taken off base packages, Star Sports will suffer some drop in ratings.

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Updated: 22 Mar 2023, 01:22 AM IST
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