Star Cricket goes off air in Siti Cable homes

Star Cricket goes off air in Siti Cable homes

Fans aghast; channel provider telecasts all Star channels except cricket to make MSOs pay

Star Cricket goes off air in Siti Cable homes

The controversy surrounding cricketers involved in spot-fixing may not have hampered viewership numbers for the ongoing Champions Trophy. But missing channels in hundreds of households in the City have left cricket lovers unable to watch the matches.

Just a couple of weeks after the problem of some channels missing on certain digitised cable TV services was solved, another round of problems has seen Star Cricket go missing for subscribers of the service from Siti Cable, one of the six multi system operators (MSOs) in Bangalore.

“Dear viewers, the relay of this channel is not available as Siti Cable is negotiating commercially with the broadcaster for a reasonable monthly rate for you. You may watch all the India matches on DD1 channel (number 114),” a notification reads when one turns on Star Cricket, which is telecasting all the Champions Trophy matches.

There are also some of the other lesser viewed channels that are disconnected a few others complained, while channels like Star Movies, Star Sports, Star Sports-2, Star Plus et al are being relayed. According to the Karnataka State Cable Operators’ Association (KSCOA), Siti Cable has about 1.5 lakh subscribers.

Diwakar Yadav, an ardent fan and a resident of Indiranagar, says: “It is not the same experience watching it on Doordarshan (DD), the pre-match and post-match analysis and commentary make a huge difference while watching a live game.”

The argument of Sagay Raj, a resident of Ulsoor, is that DD only telecasts India’s matches in Champions Trophy, which means that people cannot follow other matches.

Sources said the problem was the same as it was with Hathway in April-May, when several channels including some from the Star network were blocked by MediaPro, the channel provider, during negotiations of the fee to be paid to the channels.

 “The channel provider has arbitrarily disconnected the channel and the MSO is now in talks with the company to get the channel back.”

An officer bearer of the KSCOA said that even this time, the channel providers are not disconnecting all the channels or disconnecting connections provided to all the MSOs.

“All the other Star network channels are being relayed, the provider has chosen Star Cricket knowing well that the MSO will receive a lot of angry calls given that Champions Trophy is being telecast by the channel. They are hoping that a quick negotiation will yield them the money they want,” another source said.

KSCOA has already received more than one complaint about channel providers doing this, and its president, V S Patrick Raju, told Deccan Herald: “They are targeting people separately and are cutting relay of channels that arein demand. There should be some time given to the MSOs to complete procedures of installation and also fix rates before being able to make payments to channel providers.”