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New broadcast tariff: TV channel rates may fall further, says TRAI

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 17, 2019 Published on January 17, 2019

With the new broadcast tariff regime set to come into effect for consumers from February 1, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said prices of many TV channels and bouquets of channels have witnessed a reduction in the past four weeks.

As per an analysis by the telecom and broadcast regulator, in the last four weeks a-la-carte prices of nearly 148 channels have been reduced by 27 broadcasters. At the same time, 15 broadcasters have reduced prices of 67 bouquets in the same period. Meanwhile, broadcasters have also re-introduced 93 bouquets with reduced prices. All the broadcasters have declared the a-la-carte and bouquet pricing of their TV channels in line with the new broadcast tariff order.

SK Gupta, Secretary, TRAI, told BusinessLine said, “This clearly indicates that whenever there is an actual competition in a sector and the market forces come into play, prices will go down. We believe this trend will be further visible in 2-3 months as the competition shapes up further .”

Gupta said TRAI has also launched a “Channel Selector Application” on its Web site for consumers to calculate their monthly bills and also get information about the MRPs of the channels they want to select. Designed on the lines of an online shopping cart, this tool, the regulator believes, will help TV subscribers choose the favourite channels and how much they need to pay monthly.

“Some consumers have expressed the concern that if they have already exercised their options and if the prices of those TV channels get further reduced, whether they will be able to get benefits of these reduced prices. They can still get the benefit even if they have exercised their options early as the migration of subscribers will happen only on February 1,” he added.

Asked about the progress on the ground regarding the execution of the migration plan by MSOs and DTH service providers, Gupta said that the regulator has seen positive feedback and is hopeful that majority of TV subscribers will exercise their option before January 31.

“TRAI has been actively communicating to consumers through social media and SMS to exercise the choice without waiting for the last minute,” he added.

In the new regulatory framework, payments made to DTH and MSOs by subscribers will consist of two components — Network Capacity Fee and MRPs of pay channels.

Published on January 17, 2019

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