TRAI hopes regulations will give growth stimulus to broadcast sector

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on March 08, 2017

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) believes the recent notifications of regulations governing the broadcast sector will be beneficial for the entire value chain, which includes broadcasters, consumers, cable operators and DTH service providers.

On Friday, TRAI had notified the tariff regulations for the broadcast sector, quality of services norms and interconnection regulations.

Through these notifications, the regulator has mandated several key consumer-friendly moves. Among these are the requirement that broadcasters will need to declare the maximum retail price per month of their a la carte pay channels and separate bouquet formation of pay channels and free-to-air channels.

Subscribers will have to pay a maximum subscription fee of ₹130 a month, excluding taxes, to distributors for access to the initial 100 SD channels. Beyond that, additional channels will be available in slabs of 25 SD channels for an amount not exceeding ₹20 excluding taxes.

The regulator said with such a framework broadcasters have been given freedom to price their channels on an a la carte basis without any caps, and maximise their revenues through subscriptions. The genre-wise price caps that were suggested in the draft version have also been done away with. The only condition being, if a channel has been priced above ₹19, it cannot be part of a bouquet and will have to be sold on a la carte basis. The implementation timelines for various regulations vary between 30-180 days.

The other issues of concern that have been addressed include quality of norms for protection of consumer interest, caps on carriage fees, besides a standardised framework for content deals between multiple systems operators and broadcasters.

RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI, said the regulations has been finalised after consultation and discussions with all the stakeholders, spanning over an year. “The overarching principles that guided us while finalising these regulations included offering more choice to the consumers, bringing in transparency in the sector , ensuring protection of consumer interests, removing ambiguity between stakeholders and giving stimulus to the growth of the broadcasting sector.”

He said as digitisation of TV services is in its final stage, the regulator has been working to ensure that consumers, broadcasters and platforms can reap benefits from digitisation.

TRAI is next expected to work on regulations on inter-operability of set-top boxes of various DTH operators as well as infrastructure sharing regulations in the sector.

Published on March 08, 2017
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