MSOs stop airing Star Movies after state govt missive

Mumbai, Jan 19 | Updated: Jan 20 2007, 06:53am hrs
Close on the heels of the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) imposing a ban on entertainment channel AXN up to March this year, all multi system operators (MSOs) in the city have blocked out the film channel Star Movies for an indefinite period.

This is since Star Movies has failed to submit an undertaking stating that they will not air content with an A certificate, something which has been made mandatory by the state government following a PIL filed in August 2006 in the Bombay High Court. The channel has been sent a notice by the Maharashtra state government for not submitting the undertaking till date.

DTH operator Tata Sky had already stopped airing the channel owing to the issue some time back. Star Movies was supposed to submit an undertaking stating that they will not show content with A certificate, which they still have not submitted. Therefore, they have been issued a notice, Sanjay Mohite, DCP (enforcement), Mumbai, said. Star Movies and AXN are totally different issues. The AXN decision is entirely in the hands of the Central government.

Star Movies officials were not available for comment. Meanwhile, operators are still confused regarding Star Movies. Tata Sky is not airing the channel but the other DTH operator, Dish TV, is waiting for Star Movies to revert back to the notice sent to them. Right now, the channel is still on air for the Dish TV subscribers but it will be off if Star does not take the relevant action.

The scenario is creating a condition of chaos for the conditional access system (CAS) operators. Jagjit Singh Kohli, CEO, WWIL, said, Right now, the channels are going as bouquet, so pricing is not a major problem. But from January 22, the a la carte system will be operational which will cause problems. The amount, which the subscribers will have to pay if they have subscribed to these channels already, is still not clear. Nothing is clear as of now.

K Jayaraman, CEO, Hathway Cables, said, The broadcasters have to decide how the entire pricing structure will work. Consumers should not pay if some channel is blocked even if they have subscribed to it.