Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has clarified that the latest regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services implemented on Wednesday will not affect customers. All customers continue using the TV services without any disruptions. The new rules introduced by TRAI from December 29 will allow consumers to select and pay only for the channels they wish to view. The TV broadcasters, on the other hand, need to reveal the maximum retail price of channels individually as well as of packages.
TRAI in a statement said – “The Authority has noticed that there are messages circulating in the media that there may be a black-out of existing subscribed channels on TV screens after December 29. The Authority is seized of the matter and hereby advises that all Broadcasters/DPOs/LCOs will ensure that any channel that a consumer is watching today is not discontinued on 29.12.2018”.
Transition Process – Migration Plan
TRAI has kept the interest of subscribers in mind planned a smooth transition, for this, it has drafted a migration plan. This will ensure that the TV services are not disrupted by the new broadcasting rules.
The migration plan drafted says all the subscribers will get enough time for making an informed choice. The service providers will also be able to carry out various activities specified under the new regulatory framework in a time-bound manner.
TRAI suggests the cost to consumers will not increase, in fact, if the consumers choose the channels of his choice and his complete family they might end up paying even less than what they are paying right now per month. The authority has also planned probable packs for different markets.
TRAI also said broadcasters with wider presence have reduced the price of their channels recently. It further added that the current prices declared by broadcaster are offered prices and not final market-determined prices, as it believes the market forces will stabilize the price soon based on economic principles. The TRAI, in its FAQs on the new norms, has reasoned that after digitization of cable TV networks in March 2017, there was an urgent need to improve transparency as many stakeholders were not providing choice to consumers. It said the consumer becomes the real decision-maker now.
Now a broadcast network can charge max Rs130 for 100 channels, this includes free to air channels or pay channel or combination. Now subscribers will have a choice to opt for the FTA channels as they will not be mandatory, though it will be mandatory to pay for MIB channels. The subscribers will have a choice to pay for channels of their choice, applicable MRP is payable in addition to the network capacity fee.
A subscriber who chooses to go for more than 100 channels which will be around 10- 15% of total subscribers can go for 25 channels additional pack which will cost Rs 20 per slot. Under the new regulatory rules, subscribers will not have to watch or pay only for what they want to view. TRAI added that 80% subscriber as per the viewing pattern is given by BARC, either view or flip 40 or less number of channels.
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