No fresh content: Operators seek pay channel fee waiver

The local cable operators (LCOs) in Maharashtra have sought a complete waiver of or a steep discount on general entertainment and sports pay channel fee as there’s no broadcast of fresh content for the last two months. In letter to NP Singh, president of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Maharashtra Cable Operators Foundation (MCOF) has asked for a four month waiver or discount, starting from April till July.

“All the channels have been recycling programmes for close to two months. Further, no one is in a position to assure as to when fresh programmes will be aired. Same is the case with sports and movie channels, which will be slower in offering fresh content as compared to GECs (general entertainment channels) and other genres,” Arvind Prabhoo, president of MCOF wrote in the letter. ET has reviewed a copy of the letter.

MCOF believes that if the broadcasters don’t reduce or waive off the price of these channels -predominantly priced between Rs 10 – 19 per month – the subscribers might discontinue these on their own. Also, as multi-system operators (MSOs) continue to pressurise the LCOs to pay upfront fee monthly even when the subscribers are unable to pay, the operators, who are the last-mile link to the consumers, will be forced to do so.

Prabhoo said that the situation can be reviewed in mid-July and a suitable decision can be taken based on ground realities. MCOF also highlighted that the operators too will be sacrificing their marketing fee. The cable operators are also dealing with collection problems. Prabhoo said, the monthly collection of cable TV services have dipped by almost 60% across the country due to the nationwide lockdown.

—ISSCNC

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