afaqs! news bureau

AIDCF urges TDSAT to halt Disney+ Hotstar's free cricket streaming

The federation has formally petitioned TDSAT, expressing concerns about Disney+ Hotstar's free access to recent and upcoming cricket tournaments.

The All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) has requested the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to intervene and instruct Star India to discontinue the free live cricket streaming service on Disney+ Hotstar. The AIDCF's argument centers on the increasing demand from its member companies' customers for complimentary access to live cricket matches, as per a recent ET report.

The federation has submitted a formal petition to the TDSAT, expressing their concerns about Walt Disney-owned company's decision to provide free access to the recently concluded Asia Cup and the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup for mobile users via its streaming platform, Disney+ Hotstar.

In response, the tribunal has taken action by issuing a notice to Star India, calling upon them to submit a reply to the allegations and concerns raised by AIDCF by October 3.

As per an ET report, on June 9, Disney+ Hotstar intended to provide free access to the Asia Cup and World Cup tournaments for its customers. Prior to this, JioCinema had already offered free access to the Indian Premier League for all internet users in the country. Disney+ Hotstar plans to maintain this strategy of offering sports content for free as it seeks to expand its business.

In its formal petition, AIDCF has argued that the broadcaster is engaging in discrimination by charging cable TV subscribers for the same content while granting free access to Disney+ Hotstar users.

The federation has pointed out that this practice of charging for identical content on television while making it freely available online runs counter to the regulatory framework established by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. This framework is designed to create an inclusive environment that ensures transparency, non-discrimination, and subscriber safety.

Furthermore, the federation has asserted that providing free streaming services will negatively impact the businesses of its member companies, including GTPL Hathway, DEN Networks, Siti Networks, and Hathway Digital, as pay TV customers may shift to OTT (Over-The-Top) platforms in search of free content.

The AIDCF additionally highlighted that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has established Downlinking Guidelines that impose limitations on broadcasters, preventing them from delivering their services and content directly to consumers except in the manner outlined within these guidelines.

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