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NDTV gets notice in MSM row over distribution - Sathish - 01-16-2011

NEW DELHI: A division bench of the Delhi High Court has issued notice to NDTV for terminating channel distribution contract with MSM Discovery and switching over to Star Den.

Earlier, a single-judge bench of the Court Justice S Muralidhar had upheld the decision of the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) on 22 December which had given a judgment in favour of NDTV.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, also issued notice to Star Den, a joint venture between Star and Den Media, directing them to file replies.

The court listed the matter for next hearing on 18 March.

The single judge bench had said it did not find any ground for interference with the order of Tdsat, which had rejected the plea of MSM Discovery to restrain NDTV from terminating distribution and marketing agreement between the two, and entering into a fresh contract with rival firm Star Den.

The agreement related to distribution of its channels NDTV 24x7 (English news channel), NDTV Profit (business news channel), NDTV India (Hindi news channel) and NDTV Good Times (lifestyle channel).

MSM Discovery had submitted that NDTV had "unlawfully" terminated the channel distribution agreement and collaborated with rival distributor Star Den.

Tdsat had said if NDTV terminated the contract wrongly, then MSM could claim damages for the breach of contract.

NDTV had terminated the channel distribution agreement with MSM on 13 December after issuing a public notice and it entered into a fresh alliance with Star Den.

MSM Discovery is a joint venture between Multi Screen Media and Discovery Communications.

MSM Discovery and NDTV had entered into a distribution agreement in 2003. The contract was renewed in 2005 and 2009 for a fixed term fee and it was to expire on 31 March 2012.

Source: Indiantelevision.com