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Cable operators welcome AndhraPradesh HC ruling on pay channels 

Our eFE Bureau  
New Delhi : The recent verdict by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, restraining all pay channels from charging subscription fees for channels that consumers do not want, is a step forward in introducing an addressable cable system, according to cable operators. This order is likely to affect most of the broadcasters such as Star TV, Zee, Sony, Turner Broadcasting and Doordarshan as there's no system to choose and differentiate between the pay channels.

Reacting to the AP court ruling, Mr Sainath Iyer, president, Zee Telefilms, says: ``The pay channels of Zee network are taken by the MSOs and cable operators. We charge them and they pay us the tariff for carrying our pay channels on the cable network.'' He adds: ``We don't know how/whether they charge their viewers. We don't bill the viewers but we bill the cable operators/MSOs. According to us, this ruling is unsustainable.'' But cable operators are happy that such a ruling has come. ``The court order will reinforce our demand for an addressable cable network where the consumer has a choice in deciding and paying for the channels he wants to receive,'' said Mr Rakesh Dutta, a member of the United Front Action Front. Mr Suzail Waris, head of Extravision under Spectranet, agreed.

Mr Waris said: ``The legal judgement will make our demand for addressability more forceful.'' Mr Dutta said: ``It's a major step forward for both the cable industry and subscribers.'' The AP court judgement supports the case put forward by the cable operators for addressibility. He added: ``Now the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, has to execute the addressability option in the cable system, whereby the subscriber can choose what he wants and pay for only that.'' Recently, a group of cable operators had met Ms Swaraj and Prasar Bharti CEO, Mr RR Shah, to demand the addressability option in the cable system.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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