Info-tech

TRAI’s TV tariff order changes rules of the game

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on April 25, 2019 Published on April 25, 2019

The consumer has to pay the basic Network Capacity Fee of Rs. 130 a month for a bouquet of 100 channels. The pay channels cost extra K Murali Kumar

Ever heard of a channel called Dangal TV? It is India’s most popular general entertainment channel, at least for the past four weeks.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) move to rejig the cable TV space once again is giving rise to a new set of channels such as Dangal TV that were unheard of until a couple of months ago .

With 993 million views, Dangal TV was the second most popular channel in the country, across categories, marginally behind Star Sports 1 Hindi, which spiked primarily because of the IPL.

Compared to Colors, which had a viewership of 511 million, Dangal had nearly twice the number of viewers during April 13-19, according to data compiled by the Broadcast Audience Research Council India.

In rural India, Dangal was nearly five times more popular than Colors and nearly four times more popular than Star Plus and Zee TV.

Dangal, among the very select Hindi general entertainment channels available on DD Free Dish and Doordarshan’s free DTH service, is gaining popularity because of the sudden rise in consumers’ cable TV bills.

TRAI’s new pricing regime mandates that all channels declare their prices. Consumers are free to select the individual channels they want to watch.

In principle, the policy was supposed to reduce the amount on cable TV bills, but most consumers have seen a reverse, prompting them to look for either free channels or dump cable TV altogether.

Increasing TV bills

According to credit rating agency CRISIL, monthly TV bills have gone up by about 25 per cent from ₹230-₹240 to around ₹300 per month for viewers who opt for the top 10 channels, but have come down for those who opt up to top five channels.

Similar results were found in several other studies.

Popular in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Dangal TV’s free offering and showcase of epic Ramayana during this period have helped it surge way ahead of the competition.

The shift in viewing is not only impacting paid TV channels, but cable TV as a whole. OTT (over-the-top) players such as Hotstar, Zee5, VOOT, Amazon Prime and Eros Now are the biggest beneficiaries.

“Youngsters are rapidly moving towards on-demand video streaming platforms since they are always on the move and can easily watch whatever they want on the mobile. Moreover, partnerships with telecom operators has ensured that several of the OTT platforms are now freely available on the video streaming platforms of Airtel, Vodafone and Jio. Viewers now have access to several popular channels on mobile phones for free along with several hundred hours of original programming,” said an industry expert.

Published on April 25, 2019

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.