TRAI’s new tariff order will allow viewers to select and pay for the channels they want to watch starting from January 1.
TRAI’s new tariff order may allow viewers to select and pay for individual TV channels they want to watch starting from January 1, only if the legal hurdles were to get out the way. According to the new order by telecom regulator, broadcasters would be required to draft per month retail price (MRP) of the channels. In addition, broadcasters may also offer to their customers bouquets of channels, which shouldn’t be priced below 85 percent of the sum of the MRPs of the all channels combined in the pack.
“… Authority is of the view that after receiving any discount from the broadcasters in MRP of a pay channel or a bouquet of pay channels, a distributor of television channels may provide discount to its subscribers on the MRP of pay channels or the bouquet of pay channels declared by the broadcasters and notify the retail price to its subscribers”, TRAI order said.
In other words, more than 15 percent discount can’t be offered on bouquet pricing by the broadcasters, TRAI orders noted. “Authority has decided that a distributor of television channels may also offer a maximum discount of 15% to its subscribers while forming the bouquet(s) of pay channels over the sum of retail price offered by it to subscribers for those channels”, order said.
This could lead the subscribers to pick and choose, and pay for, individual TV channels and not subscribing to the bouquets outright, which often also contain TV channels with low viewership.
However, the ‘discount cap’ has been done away with by the Madras High Court on the petitions filed by a few of the broadcasters. So, it’s still to be seen how the new tariff order would get implemented from the next year. TRAI has moved Supreme Court against the High Court’s order.
First published on www.financialexpress.com on 11 December 2018.