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TV18 asks TDSAT to stop Star Den from marketing its channels
Broadcasting group Television Eighteen India Ltd has approached sectoral tribunal TDSAT requesting an order restraining Star Den Media Services, a distributor, from distributing and marketing its channels.

In a petition filed before the tribunal, Television Eighteen requested TDSAT to direct Star Den to remove all marketing content -- such as bouquets, advertisements and information about the broadcasting group's channels -- from its website. Television Eighteen also asked the tribunal to direct Star Den to clear its dues.

Based on the petition, a Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal bench headed by its Chairman, Justice S B Sinha, issued a notice to Star Den, which was accepted by their counsel.

The tribunal also directed Star Den, a 50:50 joint venture between broadcast major Star India and DEN Networks for distribution of TV channels, to file a reply within two weeks.

TDSAT has scheduled a hearing for July 29 to deliberate on the relief sought by Television Eighteen.

Television Eighteen had already issued notice to Star Den on July 13 terminating their channel distribution contracts.

According to the broadcaster, which airs channels like CNN IBN, IBN7, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC TV 18, Star Den has breached the terms of their agreement and was treating its channels in a discriminatory manner.

"From the rates and the revenue allocation percentage attributable to Fox International Channels (FIC), it is evident that the same are discriminatory vis-a-vis said channels of the petitioner," Television Eighteen said.

Fox International Channels, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, were added to the Star Den bouquet from April 1, 2010.

TV 18 said that addition of FIC's channel in Star Den's bouquet was in violation of their agreement. As per the terms and conditions, Star Den was to inform TV 18 on addition of any new channels in its bouquet.

"The FIC channels were added to the Star Den bouquet from April 1 and the respondent(Star Den) wrote to them on April 7, seeking consent of the petitioner(TV 18) on the same," the broadcaster alleged.

Television Eighteen further asserted that its distribution contracts with Star Den have already been terminated and the distributor was no longer its agent.

Last week, Network 18 formed a joint venture with South-based broadcaster Sun TV, dubbed Sun 18, to distribute its channels. Television Eighteen wants distribution of its channels through Sun 18.

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