The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Meet today to clear CAS cloud

New Delhi, June 9: Representatives of major cable television broadcasters STAR, Zee and Sony have been called to a meeting in the information and broadcasting ministry tomorrow amid uncertainty over the rates of channels in the run-up to the set-top box regime.

The broadcasters had at first been asked by the ministry to announce whether their channels will remain “pay” or “free-to-air” by June 10. However, a notification issued by the ministry on Friday gave cable operators time till June 15 to announce which channels will be pay and which free-to-air.

Although the notification put the onus on cable operators, it is indirect pressure on the broadcasters who own and run the channels. Cable operators cannot determine rates of channels till the broadcasters announce their intentions.

STAR, Zee and Sony bosses will meet Union information secretary Pawan Chopra tomorrow in what is likely to be another bout of “persuasion” by the government to seek their cooperation for the rollout of the conditional access system regime.

Sources say while Sony and Zee have broadly agreed with the CAS regime, STAR still has its doubts and has been lobbying for a more gradual implementation instead of making the July 14 deadline in the four metros mandatory.

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