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Will Comnet start content negotiations with Star India first?
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Breaking News :  Will Comnet start content negotiations with Star India first?
MUMBAI: Comnet, the joint venture
between DTH operator Dish TV and MSO
Siti Cable Network, could spring into
action soon. Star India is likely to be
the first broadcaster that Comnet
plans to negotiate with for a
favourable content deal.
Siti Cable’s content deal with Star
comes up for renewal in November.
Last year, Star stitched one-year
content deals with all multi-system
operators (MSOs) only on RIO
(reference interconnect offer) basis.
Star India channels were available a
la carte, though there was an
incentive scheme which offered
discounts to MSOs on the basis of
number of channels carried, LCN and
Star will be the first broadcaster with
whom Comnet will sit down to
negotiate with, Siti Cable CEO VD
Wadhwa told media analysts.
Siti Cable has already signed content
deals with Multi Screen Media (MSM),
Viacom18 and Zee, Wadhwa pointed
Being part of Essel Group, Siti Cable
and Dish TV are planning to display
their combined strength of 20 million
digital subscribers as they seek to
stitch content deals with
broadcasters. The two distribution
platform operators believe that this
will tilt the balance away from the
bigger broadcast networks.
“Broadcasters are expecting 30-40
per cent increase in payouts from
MSOs. While DTH is giving them around
7 per cent hike, they are thinking
that the cable industry is digitising
right now and there is an opportunity
to collect from them. That is why
Comnet has been formed,” said
While Siti Cable’s deal with Star will
expire in November, Dish TV’s
contract with the broadcaster comes
up for renewal only in the second half
of 2016.
So, how will Comnet work? “It is
better to be prepared before the
renewal time arrives. If we always
look at our own pond, we won’t be
able to grow. We are from the same
group and we feel that there are
synergies that we can benefit from.
But there will be operational
flexibility of each of these companies
so that they benefit individually.
Though the business dynamics of a DTH
company is different from that of an
MSO, it ultimately boils down to
negotiations. With superior subscriber
numbers, we can do better,” Dish TV
CEO RC Venkateish had told in an earlier
While Comnet plans to negotiate with
the broadcasters on behalf of Siti
Cable and Dish TV, ultimately the
contracts will be done individually.
Wadhwa said that Comnet would have
better leveraging power to negotiate
content contracts at reasonable
Meanwhile, Siti Cable has 12,000
subscribers on pre-paid system. The
process has been slow and it requires
a lot of consumer awareness to drive
it, Wadhwa said.
Siti Cable expects carriage revenue to
grow 10 per cent annually. In FY15,
the MSO reported carriage revenue of
Rs 249 crore (Rs 2.49 billion), up 9.6
per cent from the year-ago period.
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