ESPN Discontinues Channel Signals To INCablenet

Mumbai: | Updated: Nov 11 2003, 05:30am hrs
ESPN Software India on Monday discontinued the signals of its two sports channels to IndusInd Media & Communications, a subsidiary of Hinduja TMT, for non payment of dues worth Rs 7.1 crore. We have switched them off in Mumbai and Delhi, said ESPN Software vice president Sricharan Iyengar. Earlier, STAR India had switched off signals of its bouquet of channels to the Hinduja-owned cable network in Delhi and Baroda with effect from November 1. We have blacked out signals of our channels to INCablenet in these cities for non payment of dues. Even in Mumbai, they have not cleared the amount. We are in talks with them, said STAR spokesperson. INCablenet is the cable TV distribution arm of IndusIndia Media.

Commenting on ESPN Softwares decision to switch off its channels, Mr Iyengar said, INCablenet has failed to pay the monthly subscription fees to us, despite written and verbal commitments from their senior officials.

INCablenets chief financial officer Srinivas Palakodeti, in a letter dated 27.08.2003, had assured to pay ESPN Software Rs 3.65 crore. The total amount INCablenet owed us till July 31, 2003, was Rs 3.65 crore. They intimated that they would be clearing off the outstandings. We have yet to realise the money from them. The total outstandings have climbed up to Rs 7.1 crore. But we are in talks with them to solve the problem, said Mr Iyengar.

Hinduja Group spokesperson Sharmila Banerjee said that IndusInd Media and ESPN had a commercial understanding which was breached. After discussions, there was an understanding which was reached and conveyed to them through our letter in August. We agreed to clear their outstandings and they agreed to withdraw FIR and police complaints filed against our staff and sign a term sheet/agreement for conditional access system (CAS). We are willing to make payments immediately. They should also comply to resolve the outstanding issues.

Reacting to such statements, Mr Iyengar said that there was no link between what they are to pay for our services they have taken and a CAS-related agreement.