Television network Sony Pictures Networks India and direct-to-home operator Tata Sky are currently in the midst of an impasse after commercial negotiations between the two companies broke down earlier this month. Tata Sky removed all of Sony’s 32 channels from its service on October 1 after the television network reportedly demanded a significant hike while renewing their deal.
According to reports, Sony demanded Rs 1,700 crore from Tata Sky for a three-year deal, which is almost double the previous deal of Rs 800 crore that ended on July 31. After Tata Sky’s viewers complained about the missing channels, the DTH operator has since restored 10 of Sony’s channels under the reference interconnect offer (RIO) agreement, according to The Economic Times.
Sony had approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal after the impasse. The tribunal had directed the two companies to “work out a mutually acceptable negotiated agreement within a period of four weeks”.
According to reports, Tata Sky’s senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the tribunal that Sony’s demand of Rs 1,700 crore was too high considering the network had lost the broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League.
In September of last year, Sony’s competitor Star India successfully acquired the global media rights, including television and digital, for the next five seasons of the IPL with a consolidated bid of Rs 16,347.50 crore.
Sony had submitted the highest bid for the Indian subcontinent broadcast rights – Rs 11,050 crore. Star India’s bid for this category was Rs 6,196.94 crore, almost Rs 5,000 crore lower than its biggest rival. However, Star won the rights because of the higher consolidated bid. Sony had held the IPL broadcast rights for the previous 10 seasons.
Currently, the only sports channels from Sony’s network that are available on Tata Sky are Sony Ten 1 (HD & SD), Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six. Sony ESPN and Sony Ten Golf are not available for Tata Sky subscribers in SD or HD.