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India Satellite Operators Decry Unequal Treatment

Mirroring complaints of
the U.S. satellite industry, Indian satellite operators at the CASBAA
forum in New Delhi this week pointed to the disparate tax treatment of cable
operators and said that must change.

Taxation was a "hot
topic" at the conference, according to organizers. A DTH tax there
now stands at 35%, which was characterized as an "unheard-of burden for an
entertainment product that is an everyday experience for hundreds of millions
of Indians."

The operators also
pointed to the restrictions on retail prices, and the fact that cable operators
do not face many of the same limits, while they argue enforcement of taxes
against cable operators is weak because cable operators underreport sub

"Time and again we heard
that companies are hard pressed to make money in the content industry thanks to
regulatory constraints, under-declaration, high carriage fees and rising
costs," said CASBAA CEO Simon Twiston Davies at the one-day
conference. He called a "backward-looking government approach" to
Indian pay TV one of the biggest problems facing that industry.