Hathway Datacom, the Rajan Raheja-owned multi system operator (MSO), has discontinued its cable TV services in Chennai. Employees who were working at Hathway’s Chennai office have confirmed the development.
The MSO, which had a 10 per cent share of the city’s cable TV market, stated that Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), a division of Sumangali Publications Ltd, which owns a major chunk of the Sun TV network, had left the MSO with no choice but to close operations.
SCV is an MSO offering services on the conditional access system (CAS) in Chennai and Hathway was its only rival. There are around 4-5 lakh subscribers in the city, with more than 1,000 cable operators, according to industry representatives.
P. S. Lakshmanan, who looks after Hathway’s Chennai operations, declined to comment on the development, when queried by us. Hathway officials in Mumbai were also unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts were made to contact them.
Last year, In Chennai, Hathway had issued about 50,000 free set-top boxes (STBs) worth about Rs 50 crore. A spokesperson of Cable TV Urimayalaargal Sangam, an association of the cable operators, said that the company failed due to mismanagement and aggressive investment in STBs and promotional offers of free boxes.
With Hathway stopping operations in Chennai, SCV is expected to have a monopoly. SCV, a network owned by Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi Maran of the Sun TV group, has a market share of 90 per cent in the city.
In Tamil Nadu, the DMK Government had also started an MSO called Arasu Cable Network, which everyone thought would take over the entire cable TV industry, including SCV and Hathway. But, after a patch-up between the Maran’s and Karunanidhi’s families, the takeover plan was not initiated and Hathway began to face resistance from SCV.