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Zee Turner & Star Den end MediaPro JV following TRAI’s aggregator regulations

Zee Turner Limited and Star Den Media Services Pvt. Ltd. are discontinuing distribution of their channels through their joint venture, Media Pro Enterprises India Pvt. Ltd. (MediaPro), following changes in TRAI aggregator regulations.

Both the groups will set up independent affiliate sales teams for their channels. Zee and Star informed that the latest tariff order which allowed a 27.5% inflation-linked hike in interconnect offer rates is expected to increase their subscription revenues.The companies announced that the latest tariff order, with a hike of 27.5% in reference interconnect offer rates, is likely to boost subscription revenues.

By taking away the right of broadcasters to form distribution ventures, the TRAI is allowing distribution ventures to manipulate supply once again. Bigger broadcasters might end up paying less carriage fees, and smaller ones might be forced to pay much higher. The broadcast distribution networks are not neutral, and this is a problem that reminds us of the Internet’s net neutrality situation.

When the joint venture was created three years ago, the market was controlled by access service providers – DTH companies and Multi-System Operators (MSO)s, which take a carriage fee for distributing channels. A consolidation between distribution aggregators gave the channels an opportunity to negotiate lower carriage fees.

From a cable, DTH or IPTV service provider perspective, MediaPro brought in channels from the STAR DEN bouquet such as: Star Plus, Star One, Star Gold, Star Moviews, Star World, Vijay TV, Star Utsav, Star News, Channel V, NatGeo, Fox History and Entertainment, FC, Asianet, Asianet Plus, Star CJ, NDTV 24×7, NDTV India, among others and channels from Zee Turner such as: Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Cartoon Network, HBO, WB, Zee Studio, Zee Business, Zee Cafe etc.

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Other aggregators: Zee and Star are not the only media companies that created such alliances. There is also IndiaCast, a joint venture between TV18, Viacom18 and  UGBL, a DisneyUTV group. There is also TheOneAlliance, a joint venture between Sony Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. and Discovery Communications, along with Times Television Network (TTN).

Meanwhile, there were talks of Dish TV being in talks with two other DTH operators to form a joint venture which will work on content and carriage agreements with broadcasters. Such a joint venture was expected to provide DTH operators more muscle in content and carriage negotiations with broadcasters. However, with the demise of aggregators following the regulation, it is not clear if a DTH joint venture has a place or not.

Also read: Why The TRAI Went After TV Content Aggregators; Impact On Online Distribution?

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