Amid growing confusion among the consumers ahead of TRAI tariff order implementation from December 29, TRAI has come out with a press release urging broadcasters and network operators to ensure no blackout of existing subscribed channels on the day. The press release further stated that the regulator is under the process of devising a smooth migration plan for all the existing subscribers.
The framework which was first notified in 2017 was duly re-notified vide press release no. 71/2018 dated 3rd July 2018 prescribing implementation schedule. As per the implementation schedule, all the service providers were required to complete the preparation for migration to the new framework by December 28, 2018.
TRAI Tariff Plan: No Blackout on December 29
As per the new tariff plans, end customers can decide what channels he/she wants and pay only for those as against the existing practice of paying for a lump sum number of channels to cable and DTH players. A few broadcasters and network had earlier raised concerns about the drop in the subscription of unpopular channels under the new tariff system.
The regulations prescribe uniform price for a channel irrespective of targeted audiences, thereby affecting the revenues of cable and DTH network operators. Earlier, cable and DTH network operators were free to decide per channel pricing based on the targeted audiences. Based on locality the same channel was sold by cable operators to end consumers at a different price.
New Tariff Order: Cable Operators expect loss of revenues
Further, under the existing practice broadcasters had no say in final cost paid by the end customer. With channel pricing under the new TRAI Tariff Order solely decided by the broadcaster, DTH and network operators fear a sizeable loss in revenue.
Under the new Tariff Order customer can pay network capacity fee (NCF) of Rs 130 for 100 Free-to-Air (FTA) channels. NCF revenue from FTA channels is shared between MSO’s and LCO’s in a minimum 55:45 ratio, with no share for the broadcasters. 100 FTA channels, including 26 mandatory Doordarshan channels can be accessed by paying the NCF. For pay channels, the price of which is solely decided by the broadcasters, the broadcasters will pocket 65 to 80 percent of the MRP with the MSO and LCOs sharing the rest in a 55:45 ratio.