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Sports channel fee hike flayed

Cable operators in the city will oppose the “premature” rate hike by ESPN and STAR Sports, announced on Friday. ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, which owns the two sports channels, has raised its package price by Rs 8, to Rs 32 per subscriber point, effective December 1, 2002.

“They should have waited till January before effecting a fresh hike. We are not accepting this revision and will ask member operators to pay at old rates for December,” said Forum of Cable Operators secretary Tarak Saha.

ESPN Software, which was first off the blocks in the annual practice of raising rates, ascribed the revision to “increasing cost of creating and acquiring content and under-declaration”.

Other broadcasters like STAR, Sony and Zee-Turner are expected to follow suit in hiking channel fees soon. “Subscription rates are set for a minimum rise of Rs 50 from January to factor in new pay channel rates,” said Saha.

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