Zee Turner has deactivated its 33 channels on the Asianet distribution network in Kerala. Zee Turner claims that Asianet Satellite Communications has not paid its dues to the company since November 2008.
The channels which have been blocked include Zee TV, Ten Sports, HBO, Cartoon Network and CNN. The broadcaster claims that the deactivation will affect 10 million viewers in 14 major cities of Kerala, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kollam, Calicut and Tiruchirapalli.
to afaqs!, Dinesh Jain, chief executive officer, Zee Turner, says, "Channels invest a lot of money on infrastructure and content, and the rightful remuneration must come to the channel owners. When people don't honour business commitments, we are compelled to take such steps, but this is our last resort after three months of negotiation."
Jain adds that he is confident that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible so that consumers can watch Zee Turner's channels.
When contacted, an Asianet official denied any knowledge of Zee Turner's announcement.
Asianet Satellite Communications is one of the largest cable operators in India. The company carries 70 channels and has seven of its own TV channels.
In January, Zee Turner had a similar issue with the MSO (multi-service operator) Sky Media Patrika in Jodhpur, where the channel claimed that the operator was understating its subscription base.
Zee Turner, incorporated in 2002, is a joint venture between the Essel group and Turner International. The company manages and distributes the pay channels of the groups in the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and Bhutan.