Your favourite TV channels may cost more

Ayushi Kar Mumbai | Updated on October 19, 2021

Broadcasters pull flagship channels out of the bouquet, announce new tariff plans

Subscribers of paid TV channels accessed through cable operators and DTH service providers will have to pay more for some of the popular channels with broadcasters announcing new tariff plans under the New Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0. Analysts expect some viewers to shift to over-the-top platforms as a result of the new pricing.

Sony, Zee, Star India and Viacom18 have excluded some of their flagship channels from bouquets in order to price them higher. Under the NTO 2.0, the telecom regulator has capped the price of channels being offered as part of a bouquet at ₹12 a month. However, most of the popular channels are priced higher. Consequently, broadcasters will now be offering them solely on à la carte basis. Here, customers can individually purchase the channel which will no longer be a part of a bouquet offering.

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), which operates 26 entertainment and sports channels, has pulled out its popular channels from the bouquet. It has also kept the MRP of its GEC and sports channels above the ₹12 cap.

Star India has published the prices for 78 channels. The MRP of 32 out of 78 channels have been fixed above the ₹12 cap, keeping them out of the bouquet. Some of the existing channels were missing from the new rate card, indicating that they are likely to be shut down or re-branded. This includes its English GEC such as Star World, Star World HD, and Star World Premiere HD. Disney Star India has not officially commented on the development.

Zee, on the other hand, has only four channels that are pure a la carte. Viacom18 has pulled out Colors and Colors Kannada out of the bouquet by pricing both the channels at ₹21.

Karan Tuarani, Senior Vice-President at Elara Capital, said, “This will enable selective viewing among consumers, who are anyway transitioning to digital media in a very big way. It may also not have a big impact on the average revenue per user as a large portion of customers may not be willing to pay more for TV media in the advent of the digital media.”

Loss of revenue seen

According to Tuarani, it will also lead to loss of ad revenue for niche channels of larger broadcasters which, in turn, may enforce them to move purely to OTT or shut down.

Broadcasters have previously argued that TRAI’s diktat will cause a major dent in revenue and thus have a negative impact on their business.

Published on October 18, 2021

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