Tata Sky, Sony engage in talks, but no early end in sight for channel blackout

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The Tata Sky subscribers may have to wait for a while to watch the Sony Pictures Network India and the India Today news channels.

The direct to home (DTH) operator has on Monday dropped 27 Sony Pictures Network and India Today group news channels over the commercial dispute with SPNI, which also publishes the India Today channels.

Tata Sky and SPNI teams are still engaged in talks to end the fiasco. “The two parties are busy negotiating the terms. However, the viewers may have to wait for at least a couple of more days. In the best case scenario channels are expected to be restored by the weekend,” a source privy to the development has told Insidesport.com.

The disagreement between the DTH and the broadcaster has cost the subscribers precious sports and entertainment action all through the week. Sony network channels are not broadcast on Tata Sky four the fourth successive day today (Thursday).

This will cost the broadcasters precious commercial revenues and eyeballs, while the DTH operator is facing subscribers ire who have paid for a commitment to get the signals for the channels of their choice.

The subscribers are already questioning Tata Sky for denying them the right to watch the content of their choice for which they have already paid. If the matter is not resolved soon, Tata Sky faces the threat of losing subscribers. With new players entering the market, the subscribers will be gunning to leave a service provider which is not reliable and consistent. A consumer cannot be made to suffer for a commercial disagreement between two corporates.

Football fans this week have been missing high octane live action from the ongoing UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League this week. Tata Sky customers have also missed out on WWE RAW action on Tuesday and the UEFA Champions League Hoffenheim versus Manchester City as well as Juventus versus Young Boys games.

Some other crucial matches from yesterday (Wednesday) including Real Madrid vs CSKA Moskva, Manchester United vs Valencia, AS Roma vs Plzeň, Bayern Munich vs Ajax, Lokomotiv Moskv vs Schalke and Paris St Germain vs Crvena Zvezda In the UEFA Champions League were missed out by the Tata Sky customers

Sony Sports Network is the exclusive broadcaster for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games as well as the right holders of WWE in the Indian sub-continent.

Sources close to Insidesport.co have confirmed that the two parties are now trying to clear the impasse with ongoing negotiations and may culminate in the form of a good news for the subscribers of the DTH network after the weekends.

Also Read: Tata Sky subscribers to miss Champions League, Europa League live action

However, the frustration for the subscribers might not cease very soon as they are yet again to miss the Thursday’s (Today) football action that includes Tottenham-Barcelona, Napoli versus Liverpool, Dortmund-Monaco and Atlético de Madrid versus Club Brugge from Champions League schedule; and Astana-Rennes, Salzburg-Celtic, Milan-Olympiacos, Vorskla-Sporting CP, Anderlecht-Dinamo Zagreb and Qarabağ-Arsenal action in Europa League fixture.

Friday is packed with more UEFA action, the weekend includes WWE Special Super Showdown, live tennis and golf action on Saturday. Sunday marks the first day of the Pakistan and Australia Test.

The customers have been irked on Tata sky’s stance over blocking channels after collecting annual subscription from them. The frustration arising out of the absence of crucial sports action was topped up by woes faced by customers who were asked to give missed calls to activate those channels, which means one missed call each for the 27 channels.

The DTH network is flashing a message to give a missed call on the numbers displayed on “blacked out channel” screens. However, there was no response after several attempts to call on the numbers.

While Tata Sky has said that the channels were dropped to maintain the current prices of the subscription pack after a price hike by SPNI, the latter has quashed aside those allegations by saying that it has not increased the channel rates over the last few years.

The woes for customers continued for a while as the two were involved in an ending blame game.

SPNI also issued and an official media statement, claiming that “we would like to reassure Tata sky subscribers that the SPN channels are available under the TRAI mandated Reference Interconnect Offer (ROI). All they have to do is call Tata Sky and demand that the channels be provided to them.”

Meanwhile, Tata Sky is also engaged in negotiations with ZEEL and IndiaCast Media Distribution to renew the content deal. Tata Sky has issued disconnection notices against both the companies while the two companies had also issued disconnection notices against the DTH operator.

Also Read: Sony confirms to retain UEFA Champions League, Europa League rights