afaqs! news bureau

TDSAT upholds Star's right to stream cricket matches for free

The OTT platform does not qualify as a traditional TV channel, the verdict reads.

The Telecoms Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has rendered its judgment in favour of Star India Pvt Ltd, permitting the free streaming of cricket matches, including the inaugural moments of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, on its esteemed streaming platform, Disney+ Hotstar.

In its sagacious verdict, the TDSAT articulated, “On first impression, the OTT platform does not qualify as a traditional TV channel. Moreover, the respondent does not necessitate any permission or license from the Central Government. Examining the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the rules promulgated in 2021, alongside the provisions of the TRAI Act, 1997, there exists no prima facie case in favour of this petitioner.”

The genesis of this decision lay in the notice issued by TDSAT to Disney Star, challenging the gratuitous streaming of cricket matches. This challenge was initiated by the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), which contended that offering cricket matches for free on digital platforms posed an injustice to the cable TV industry. This industry, they argued, diligently remunerates broadcasters for the privilege of distributing and exhibiting cricket matches.

In its final decree, the TDSAT said, “These particulars, diligently upheld by the petitioner, can be subsequently presented before this Tribunal in the form of an affidavit, prior to the conclusive hearing of this Broadcasting Petition. Subsequently, the respondent shall respond. Therefore, the provisional reprieve, as sought by the petitioner, finds no favour here.”

The TDSAT has issued a stipulation to the AIDCF, requiring them to maintain a record of consumers who have subscribed to the Star Sports channel on their platform. This demand arose due to the substantial overlap in content accessible through video streaming on Disney Star’s OTT platform.

Have news to share? Write to us