Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the telecom regulatory body seems to be working on a new consultation paper that is aimed at decreasing the monthly cable or DTH bill that customers currently pay. This new paper comes about three months after the regulatory body launched its new pricing framework that was the first attempt at making TV viewing more affordable. According to recent reports, it looks like the framework is not working well enough as TRAI had planned. Talking more about the consultation paper, it is aimed at reducing the tariffs that different cable and DTH providers have to pay.
To achieve the reduced broadcasting chargers, the regulatory authority is all ready to look at new mechanisms in an attempt to achieve its goal. Talking about the pricing framework, it was supposed to reduce the price but a number of users have revealed instead of reduced price, a number of service providers have increased the prices. In addition to this, there is a lot of confusion on how the framework can be used with different DTH or cable providers. According to a report by The Economic Times, as part of the report, a TRAI official admitted that the plan to make TV pricing more transparent with improved channel selection options “did not pan out” the way TRAI has initially planned about.
As previously noted, as part of this new framework, a channel can’t be priced more than Rs 19 if it is part of a bouquet but there is no pricing cap on channels that are not part of any bouquet or if they are classified as premium channels. In addition to this, as per the guidelines, there is also no cap on the amount of total discount that a broadcaster can offer on the total amount of all the channels that the customer is opting for. The interesting thing to note here is that the increase in pricing also seems to be having a varied impact on the total viewership.
At the time when the findings of the impact of viewership were initially published, TRAI had refuted the findings of the report. However, plans of this consultation paper months after refuting the report seem to indicate otherwise. According to a statement, SK Gupta, the secretary for TRAI stated that the regulatory is hoping that all the stakeholders in the industry will work in a responsible manner by not distorting the price in the market.―BGR