Thursday, September 30, 2010

Competition in TV coverage

I am too much irritated that Tata Sky doesnt show Zee Sports (or Ten Action as it has been recently renamed). I am not fan of Ten Sports as such, but they have rights of many football leagues (Champions league, La Liga, Serie A) and I have no option but to tune to these channels to follow these matches. Now Tata Sky (partly owned by Murdoch owned Sky, who also own Star in India) have disputes with Zee and they don't intend to make these football channels available on their platform, since they claim that Zee is going to push some useless channels along with Zee Sports. I have paid annual subscription fee of Tata Sky which will expire in March, 11. Even if I had not paid these charges, switching from Tata Sky to any other DTH operator would have been difficult, considering the fixed cost. So I am stuck with Tata Sky.

But why should it be that way? My set top box has Tata Sky card. It should be like SIM card of mobile; if I change card from set top box, I should be able to switch to another DTH operator. But these operators have made their set top boxes incompatible with each other and ideally they would not like to have such swappable cards, because they incur losses in supplying set top boxes. I think telecom ministry or someone should step in and make some standards so that set top boxes become compatible and there is competition in the market just like mobile operators have. Another set of industry would emerge, i.e., set top box manufacturers like handset manufacturers. DTH industry in India is going the Mobile industry in US way, bundling hardware with services. It's only pseudo-competition in the market.

PS: Another point for more competition came to my mind. Why should sporting rights be given to only one channel? I really used to enjoy coverage of Champions League on ESPN, but sadly Ten Sports got rights for it in India n I am forced to watch it. Why can't rights be given to both channels n let viewers decide which coverage to watch? More competition, right? I guess EPL rights in UK are with Sky as well as ESPN, so people have choice which coverage to watch. Similar things should be done in India.