TRAI Refutes Reports of Rise in TV Bills after New Broadcast Norms; Consumers Disagree
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), while refuting reports about possible increase in cable TV and direct-to-home (DTH) bills, had said that its new framework may actually decrease TV bills. The statement came after a research note from CRISIL said that the new norms would result in higher bills for the cable TV and DTH subscribers. Many consumers are saying that their TV bills are going up after 1 February 2019 for viewing the same set of channels.
 
Addressing the media in New Delhi, TRAI chairman Ram Sevak (RS) Sharma said that the report was prepared on an 'inadequate understanding' of the TV distribution market and it was incorrect.
 
"The report is based on choosing top-rated channels on all-India basis and considers only one weekly report dated 25 January 2019, from TV Rating Agency, BARC. The report is not based on detailed and focused analysis, supported by data. This report is more likely to mislead the subscribers while they are likely to migrate to new framework and would results in misunderstanding," a statement issued by TRAI said.
 
TRAI secretary SK Gupta said: "In three months, we expect prices of various channels to go down."
 
In the report, ratings agency CRISIL had said, "The network capacity fee (NCF) and channel prices announced by broadcasters and distributors as per the TRAI's new guidelines could increase the monthly bill of most subscribers of television channels."
 
"Our analysis of the impact of the regulations indicates a varied impact on monthly TV bills. Based on current pricing, the monthly TV bill can go up by 25% from Rs230-Rs240 to about Rs300 per month for viewers who opt for the top-10 channels, but will come down for those who opt up to top five channels," says Sachin Gupta, senior director, ratings at CRISIL.
 
The new regime, which came into effect on 1 February 2019, will benefit popular channels and hasten adoption of over-the-top (OTT or content providers who stream media over the Internet, such as Netflix and Hotstar) platforms, and will be a mixed bag for viewers and distributors, the ratings agency had said.
 
The regulator however, claims that its preliminary data analysis shows a reduction in TV bills. It says, "These are early days and detailed data-sets will be available only after a few weeks. Yet, the Authority has information from few large distribution platform owners (DPOs) and the preliminary data analysis reflects actual savings by subscribers to the tune 10% to 15% in metro towns and between 5% to 10% in non-metro (DAS3 and DAS4) areas.
 
Many consumers on Twitter, however, are saying that their TV bill has gone up after the new changes become effective on 1st February. 
 
One Pinku Dey (@PinkuDe79114044) says, the new regime has given extra burden on common people. "…new pricing system of cable TV & DTH service do not work. It gives extra burden to the common people. Because monthly bill is increased. Early my monthly bill was Rs200 & now it crossing Rs300 with lesser channels. Please change the system," he says.
 
 
 
 
  
 
TRAI also clarified that as per the regulations, service-providers even waive off or give discounts to consumers on the network capacity fee-NCF. 
 
Mr Sharma said that the regulator has received several complaints from consumers regarding blackouts on DTH platforms, and offerings of multiple TV connections which TRAI is looking into and has issued necessary guidelines to the operators.
 
He noted that the primary aim of the new norms is to empower consumers to make their own choices and let the market forces decide the prices.
 
TRAI has also asked operators to provide options of separate connections and choices of channels for more than one television in a household, the chairman told reporters.
 
Talking about second connection in the same home, the TRAI has said, it received complaints about issues over price for the second TV connection and had sought details of special schemes for provision of the second or subsequent connection. "The Authority expects that DPOs will declare special policies/ schemes for multiple connections within a TV Home in a day or so. TRAI is having close watch on it and intervene if so required," it said.
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COMMENTS

Peruvemba Subramanian Ramachandran

2 weeks ago

Even with the Tamil Nadu Govt's Arasu Cable TV, the rates have increased nearly 40-50% for selecting the option to watch the popular channels which are priced at the maximum for different languages. I was paying Rs.150; now I have to pay Rs.300; and that too for shody service.

AAR

2 weeks ago

1.People collectively avoid big pay channels then their price would come down.
2.Pay channels do carry full advertisements like Free channels, not sure why.

Airtel gets TRAI notice over DTH service disruption
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a showcause notice to telecom and DTH operator Airtel over recent issues of blackout faced by some viewers of its Direct-to-Home (DTH) services during transition to the new tariff regime, sources said.
 
The notice was sent earlier this week and the company has been given three days' time to respond to it, people in knowledge of the development told IANS.
 
In a statement, TRAI said that the regulator on Monday issued a direction to all the distribution platform operators (DPO) that there should be no withdrawal or discontinuance of television channels on their platform by any TV service provider.
 
Responding to a query by IANS, an Airtel spokesperson said: "We have over 15 million customers who are being migrated to the new tariff regime. Due to massive surge in last-minute requests, particularly on January 31 and February 1, few customers may have experienced some delays in provisioning of channels." 
 
"Customer experience is of paramount importance to us. We remain fully committed to ensuring compliance with all TRAI guidelines and will file our response to the notice," he added.
 
The new tariff regime for cable and DTH TV services, which mandate consumers to select channels of their choice -- either individual channels or bouquets -- came into effect on February 1.
 
TRAI also said in its statement: "The authority has noticed that due to heavy rush, the website of some DPOs have crashed intermittently and a little inconvenience was caused to come subscribers due to sporadic local issues. However, by and large the migration of subscribers to the new regulatory framework has been smooth."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

V Ramesh

2 weeks ago

This is one of the best things TRAI has done. I was forced to subscribe to 500+ channels, most of which I had no interest in. Sure, the bill will go up now if I want to watch several channels. But, logically and reasonably, those who watch just a few channels pay less. No more cross subsidization.

Cable TV and DTH Bills Will Go Up for Most Users
The network capacity fee (NCF) and channel prices announced by broadcasters and distributors as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI's) new guidelines could increase the monthly bill of most subscribers of television channels, says a research report.
 
In the report CRISIL says the new regime, which came into effect on 1 February 2019, will benefit popular channels and hasten adoption of over-the-top (OTT or content providers who stream media over the Internet, such as Netflix and Hotstar) platforms, and will be a mixed bag for viewers and distributors.
 
"Our analysis of the impact of the regulations indicates a varied impact on monthly TV bills. Based on current pricing, the monthly TV bill can go up by 25% from Rs230-Rs240 to about Rs300 per month for viewers who opt for the top-10 channels, but will come down for those who opt up to top five channels," says Sachin Gupta, senior director, ratings at CRISIL.
 
CRISIL's analysis assumes a scenario where subscribers opt for the top-10 channels by viewership in addition to the free-to-air (FTA) ones. 
 
 
TRAI's new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services industry is intended to usher in transparency and uniformity, and will afford far greater freedom of choice to viewers. More than 90% of TV viewers flip 50 or fewer channels, and the new rules will let them subscribe to what they want and not be saddled with channels they are not interested in.
 
However, CRISIL feels that the new regime could drive consolidation in the broadcasting industry because content will clearly be the king and key differentiator. It says, "Subscription revenues of broadcasters would rise about 40% to Rs94 per subscriber per month compared with Rs60-Rs70 now. With viewers likely to opt for popular channels, large broadcasters will have greater pricing power. Conversely, broadcasters with less-popular channels will find it tough to piggyback on packages, and the least popular ones will hardly have a business case and could go off air." 
 
But these are early days and the situation may evolve with prices charged by broadcasters and distributors declining depending on market forces, viewership and competitive intensity.
 
Nitesh Jain, director, ratings at CRISIL says, “In all this, OTT platforms could emerge as the big beneficiary because many viewers could shift because of rising subscription bills. And low data tariffs also encourages viewership on OTT platforms.”
 
For distributors (DTH and cable operators), the ratings agency feels the new regulations are a mixed bag. "While content cost will become a pass-through, protecting them from fluctuations, they may lose out on the benefits of value-added services such as bundling content across broadcasters, customisation, and placement revenue," it adds.
 
Currently, most distributors are charging NCF at the cap rate of Rs130 per month. Similarly, broadcasters have priced subscription for the most popular pay channels at the cap rate of Rs19 per month.
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COMMENTS

Gordon Fernandes

1 week ago

Prices are going up of such essential services while financial & economic market s world over are imploding. Common man shall bear the brunt.

vinod sharma p

2 weeks ago

Besides increasing the overall bill for DTH, citing this new regime, the DTH providers have made it so cumbersome to switch to the new system of a la carte and pushing new bundle packs instead.

Surendra Babu Matavalam

2 weeks ago

I am planning to sell off my DTH and just watch the ones needed by streaming.

B. KRISHNAN

2 weeks ago

Though new Trai regulations was meant to stop exploitation of the subscribers by offering boquets, even now the DTH poviders and Broadcasters are offering boquets. After chosing the boquets one has to go thru the laborious route of chosing channels not included in the boquet (including FTA channels). On the whole, one wishes that TRAI's regulations have created havoc to the consumer.

B. KRISHNAN

2 weeks ago

DTH providers have , as expected, succeeded in gaming the new Trai regulations. They have made the very process of selecting channels very complex. After several frustrating attempts I have now settled for some channels and packages --end result is that I am paying more for less now!

Gurudutt Mundkur

2 weeks ago

Most modernisation and rationalisation methods adopted have led to increased expenses for the layman. These are made compulsory and so he has no option.
To give you another example ... dematerialisation of shares. When shares were held in a physical form and one did not buy or sell shares, there were no depository charges.
Now even if I have no transactions, I have to pay depository charges every month.

G.N.Kodnikar

2 weeks ago

Very tine article.i agree to it.

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