TRAI Aims To Maintain Transparency By Reducing Cap Of A-la-Carte Channels

Telecom regulator TRAI always urged it wanted to maintain “transparency” in the broadcasting sector with the National Tariff Order. However, the NTO 1.0 failed to make a mark in the industry due to various reasons like increased monthly subscription prices, the sub-par implementation from operators, pricier individual channels, broadcasters playing with bouquet packs and so on. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is now aiming to fix these issues and already issued amendments for the same on January 1 this year. One of the major change which Trai is going to bring is the cap on a-la-carte or individual channels which can be included in a bouquet pack. Trai allowed broadcasters to include a-la-carte channels worth up to Rs 19 in a bouquet, however, the same has now been reduced to a maximum of Rs 12. With this move, Trai is looking to bring some transparency to the broadcasting sector and reduce the monthly TV subscription costs.

Trai Sets a Rs 12 Price Cap on A-la-Carte Channels Included in Bouquets

When it announced the amendments to National Tariff Order 1.0 on January 1, 2020, the regulator has given a deadline of 15 days to the broadcasters for coming up with new bouquets. And DTH/Cable TV operators were supposed to implement the same by February 1, 2020. Trai has made some major changes to the tariff regime, but the major one is the cap on a-la-carte channels.

As part of this new rule from TRAI, broadcasters are not allowed to include individual channels priced over Rs 12 in their bouquets. In NTO 1.0, Trai noticed that broadcasters were offering heavy discounts on bouquet packs to lure the subscribers. The regulator believes that this move is against the transparency factor it wanted to bring in the broadcasting sector. For the unaware, the major motive behind bringing National Tariff Order (NTO) was to give freedom to the subscribers on what they want to watch and only pay for those channels at the MRP.

Broadcasters Move Against Trai and Yet to Announce Channel Prices

Right after Trai announced the amendments to tariff regime, broadcasters, under the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) have approached multiple local courts seeking relief. Basically, the move from Trai will force the broadcasters to reduce the prices of several popular channels from Rs 19 to Rs 12. This will surely dent their revenues and subscribers may not opt the channels priced at Rs 19 after the revision.

The next hearing on the matter at Bombay High Court is on February 12 and it’s expected that the decision will favour Trai and not broadcasters. All in all, Trai’s decision to bring down the price of individual channels to be included in bouquets will definitely bring down the monthly subscription costs for several users.―Telecom Talk

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