Star India has signed 90-95 per cent of the agreements for its reference interconnection (IRO) offer with multi-system operators (MSOs). According to a Star India spokesperson, the channel has entered into agreements with almost all MSO operators who have signed the modified or old RIO. “And there are some operators who, after the TDSAT decision, had been given the opportunity to retain their old CPS (cost per subscriber),” he said. The spokesperson also stated that the amended rio agreement was concluded between national MSOs such as Hathway Cable – Datacom, DEN Network, Siti Cable Network, GTPL and IndusInd Media and Cable (InCable). “Most of them took 19-21 channels. Although this naturally varies depending on the market, this is essentially what they involve, about seven channels in the basic car. You carry some channels (other stars) in the base plus a package. The main English channels are in the base plus the pack of two and they are in the process of creating a fourth package with all the Star India channels,” said the spokesperson. Typically for the most part, this includes channels like Star Plus, Life OK, Star Gold, OK Movies, Channel V, NGC and a regional channel. However, these are not for all MSOs, there are some like InCable, which carries only three to four star strings in the basic pack, he added. MSOs will offer the basic package to consumers, but if they want star channels that are not included in the basic package, they will have the choice of taking those packages or channels beyond, the spokesperson said. Asked if customers had the choice of throwing some channels out of the basic package or opting for another package or channel, he said: “No, it`s a basic package, it`s exactly how it currently works in cable or DTH.
If they want certain channels that are not in the package they have chosen, they must choose it à la carte. They choose a package that suits them, and if you want a few extra channels, you can of course take it to the card. The design of their offers (MSO) is entirely in their field. This means that consumers will be forced to pay for the basic package, even if they thought they didn`t want to, but will have the option to add another package containing their desired channels. For example, the Star India basic package, taking into account the MSOs that offer the 7 channels mentioned above, would come up to Rs 45.67 (including the Marathi Star Pravah regional channel). This could be updated by the MSO on the basis of the incentives proposed by the RIO modified by Star Indias. However, it is not yet known at what price the basic package will be offered to consumers. Asked how many MSOs chose the old RIO, the spokesperson said that none of the national MSOs were among them, but that there were a few independent MSOs, no more than “five or six”. There have been a few recent media reports that have also said that leading MSOs such as Hathway, DEN, Siti Cable and InCable have signed the amended RIO agreement with Star India. Asked about the additional cost of 30-40 Rs for packages that some MSOs mentioned in the media, he said that pricing was entirely the prerogative of MSOs. “Everyone approaches him separately.
We are paid on the basis of the incentives that have been offered to them. It`s a subscription model, they collect money from consumers and they`ll have all the revenue share they have with their LcSo, and they`ll pay us after that. The payment is made from a subscription point,” the spokesman said. Asked how customers would take this increase in their cable bills, he said there were 40 million DTH consumers who take channels in individual packages, so he doesn`t think customers will react negatively.