Telecom regulator TRAI’s new broadcasting tariff regime has seen migration of nearly 19 crore pay TV subscribers – almost the entire spectrum of cable and DTH customers – though tariffs in the new addressable system have gone up in certain pockets, especially in rural and far-flung areas.
As the deadline for shifting to the new regime ended on March 31, officials at TRAI said that the migration has been “more or less completed” with many subscribers making an active choice in channel selection while some opted for packages that near-mirrored their previous bouquets.
“The overall migration has been satisfactory, though there have been teething problems that we are trying to sort out now,” said Arvind Kumar – an advisor with TRAI.
The new regime was rolled out by TRAI to provide greater freedom and choice to consumers to opt and pay for only those channels that he or she watches rather than being tied down to bulky bouquets that had been in prevalence.
TRAI had quoted studies that showed that on ordinary household did not watch more than 50 channels in a month, even though they were being made to subscribe to over 200-250 channels on an average through packaged bouquets.
“By introducing a low-priced MRP regime, we want people to make an informed choice about the channels that they
want to watch – either from the free channel’s portfolio or from the paid stack,” TRAI chairman RS Sharma had said while justifying the measure. “We expect monthly bills to come down if consumers make a studied choice and pay for only those channels that they generally watch.
”However, the assessments made at the end of March shows that monthly bills may have gone up for certain subscribers in certain pockets in the rural belt, and some semi-urban areas. “There were issues related to the migration in many areas, especially as DTH and cable companies did not have easier change-over software and other paraphernalia. We will sort that out now,” a senior TRAI official said.
The regulator will meet officials from the cable industry and broadcast players later this week to take stock of the
situation.―Times of India