The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has introduced a new tariff regime in India which heavily regulates the pricing of channels and channels packs from all broadcasters. With the new mandate in effect from December 29, the DTH providers and cable operators are now under the pressure to list their new pricing. This new tariff regime grants more flexibility to the subscribers as they will have the power to choose whatever channel they watch, and pay specifically for those channels. This new pricing will also be advantageous for some broadcasters. The leading DTH provider of the country, Tata Sky will have the edge over the others as the platform boasts of having the most number of HD channels, whereas Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct remain on second and third position respectively. Other DTH providers like Dish TV and D2h remain behind in the number of HD channels mainly due to lack of English and South Indian content.
Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV Take the Lead
Trai has revealed that there are a total of 95 HD channels present in India right now, out of which Tata Sky provides 92. Also, it is worth noting that out of the total 95 channels, 44 channels are of English and Sports category meaning that they have a mass appeal across India. 4 channels out of the total are kids channel, and the rest 47 channels are regional channels like Marathi, Hindi, Tamil and more.
When it comes to Hindi HD channels, Airtel Digital is at the top as it provided all 15 Hindi HD channels on its platform. On the second number is Tata Sky, which lacks the Jeet HD channel. Dish TV and D2h are on the third and fourth spot on this list with 13 and 12 Hindi HD channels respectively. Also, speaking of non-Hindi regional channels, most channels are in Telugu as opposed to any other language.
Broadcasters to Unpackage Channels in Future
Under this new regime, the power of bundling has shifted from the hands of the DTH providers to the channel broadcasters. However, big channel owners like Star India are pushing plans which contain many channels instead of making smaller packs. In the coming times, if there is more regulation and the channels see weak demands, then the channel broadcasters might unpackage the channels and even out the pricing for the same. To give you a hint about the current picture now, the English HD channels currently are being priced at Rs 12-22, whereas most of the Hindi regional channels are priced at Rs 22.42.―Telecom Talk