Direct to home (DTH) operator Sun Direct has issued a public notice stating that Star India channels will be available on a la carte basis from 1 August.
While the DTH operator has not given a reason for issuing the notice, such notices are generally issued whenever parties fail to arrive at mutual terms to renew the agreement. Issuing a notice is also used as a means to put pressure on the rival party.
Sun Direct is the fourth DTH operator with whom Star had a tiff over agreement renewal. Earlier, it had a public spat with DTH operator Airtel Digital TV. The two parties finally settled the matter and renewed the agreement. Star had also issued disconnection notices to Dish TV-Videocon d2h and Tata Sky before signing the agreements with them.
Sun Direct is a significant player in South India and has a 10% share of the active pay DTH subscribers which stood at 67.53 million as of 31 March.
Star India reaches approximately 700+ million viewers a month across India and more than 100 other countries. It generates 30,000+ hours of content every year and broadcasts 60+ channels in 8 different languages, reaching 9 out of 10 C&S TV homes in India.
As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, Sun Direct reported a net profit of Rs. 44.22 crore in FY17 compared to a net loss of 35.3 crore in the previous fiscal. Total operating income rose to Rs 1215.04 crore compared to Rs 1116.6 crore.
The company plans to incur a Capex of about Rs. 1,100 crore during FY18–FY20 funded by debt of Rs.450 crore, out of which Rs.100 crore will be availed depending on the requirement of the company.
Sun Direct currently uses 12 transponders out of which 8 transponders are from ‘MEASAT’ and 4 transponders from ‘GSAT’. Out of the above, 7 transponders, 4 transponders from ‘MEASAT’ and 3 transponders from ‘GSAT’, were added during FY18.
With the addition of the transponders, the company has been able to increase the number of SD channels offered to 256 channels from 207 channels earlier and the number of HD channels offered to over 69 from about 15 channels.
Sun Direct is also shifting to HEVC encoding as against MPEG4 encoding used earlier which will help the company broadcast a higher number of channels within the existing bandwidth.