February 2018

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Q: Can you please let me know what is the problem going on between Broadcasters and MSOs? Den Networks has blacked out the full Zee package. Is a new package system going to start now? My network is in Phase 4.

Aditya Valunj, Pune, Via WhatsApp.

ANS: This month we have received several similar queries and concerns from Local Cable Network Owners (LCOs).

Every year new rates are negotiated between broadcasters and MSOs between Jan and March.

These negotiations have started for 2018. Disruptions during this period are not unusual. They happen even in other counties like the USA and in Europe.

Pay TV Broadcasters this year are asking for increases of 35% to 100% which MSOs have refused.

The effective rate increase is a combination of what the Broadcasters ask for their Pay channel, and what they give back, to the MSO as placement fees for their channels.

Every Pay channel would ideally like to be included in the Cheapest pay Channel Tier. Obviously, this tier can only accommodate a few lowpriced channels, or its bouquet price would be too high.

The main development this year is that all cable networks throughout India have become digital with set top boxes.

Hence MSOs have refused to accept the huge price hike demanded by Pay Channel broadcasters, for their packages. Instead of burdening all their subscribers with large and expensive Pay channel bundles, MSO are considering the option to offer expensive channels a-la-carte, to only those subscribers that want them.

Please be patient and wait for a few weeks while the negotiations conclude.

If the MSOs can get lower package rates, it will benefit subscribers. Inform your subscribers accordingly.

Alternately, it is about time that broadcasters get paid as per their actual customers & those subscribers that do not watch certain channels should not have to pay for them.

Q: I have been receiving and watching ABS DTH platform from the ABS satellite as listed in your Channel Guide for past issues. However, I find that several of the channels that I was watching are now not available and have been taken off or replaced by other channels. Why do they do this, don't they realise it affects us, their customers??

Suresh Tripathi, Nagaland

ANS: ABS is a FTA DTH platform who claim that they are intended for distribution & reception in Bangladesh & Nepal, with 2 DTH services, one from each country. RealVu, (owned by Beximco) is the DTH service f r o m Bangladesh; while Humro TV is the D T H p r o v i d e r from Nepal. A s such, the c h a n n e l s carried on the platform, are only the FTA channels, all of which were being provided for free to its c l i e n t s . H o w e v e r , this is obviously not a sustainable model since there is no subscription income….. and so at some stage the platforms have decided to start charging Carriage Fee for the channels, in return for the large viewership that the channels would enjoy in these countries, as a result of being included in their packages.

The channels that agreed to pay, continue to be available on the DTH platform, those that did not or could not, were taken off and replaced by other channels that were willing to pay.

Hence the changes.. which we suspect, you'll see a lot more of…


Q: Sir I had a input from DEN they just started a HD channels to my network. Some customers tell me that TataSky HD looks better than the same HD channels via Cable TV. Is there any difference in cable HD & DTH HD ?

Aditya Valunj, Pune

ANS: No there is no difference in the quality of HD signal given by broadcasters to either a cable TV headend or a DTH uplink facility.

However, if the transmission by the cable network from the MSO headend to the end customer is poor, it is possible that your cable TV customer will see a poorer image via cable TV.

Do check and confirm that your cable customer is using a HD cable TV STB, which is connected to his TV set via a HDMI cable.

You can check & verify the HD picture quality at the point you receive your signal from the MSO. If the HD picture quality at this point is good, the local distribution network in your system is not good. Ensure that not more than 1 RF amplifier, is used between the Optical node and any consumer. If you have more RF amps in cascade, take the optical fibre deeper into your network to distribute the signal.

Dish Doctor
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