The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed a new tariff order, and regulatory framework for the broadcast sector is kicking in from December 29, 2018. According to which, installation and activation prices charged by DTH providers, will be capped at Rs 500. This means, as per the new tariff order, DTH providers will not be able to impose price more than Rs 350 as installation charge, and not more than Rs 150 as an activation charge of the service.
Consumers now will be able to select and pay the maximum retail price (MRP) set by the respective broadcasters for the channel or channels. At present viewers are provided a bouquet of TV channels, many of which are never watched by the customer. Under the new tariff regime, TV viewers have to pay a minimum of Rs 130 to watch 100 free-to-air channels and can choose individually any pay channels. TRAI says this new mandate will improve affordability while granting consumers the power to decide. But the industry isn’t entirely convinced, and it believes that consumers may end up paying more.
The cable and the DTH operators are anxious because of popular channel prices being priced too high. So they are hoping that popular networking channels slash their prices. If people stop seeing popular channels then and viewership will take a hit, so, for now, they have requested BARC, to stop giving information till they figure out what is going to happen on 29th December 2018. So, advertisers will continue to pay high ad rates when viewership information is unavailable.
Challenges for Cable TV Operators
Well, with this ruling, cable TV operators will have to update their database for each customer on their channel subscription and a lot of back-office work is involved to make their system compliant to above ruling. Without having a sophisticated cable TV management CRM or Software, it would be a really a pain for them to handle the changes manually.
TRAI, however, feels channels may end up reducing prices if they want to retain viewers and also assured consumers that there won’t be any blackout of TV channels and the transition will be carried out smoothly.
Quality of Service Regulation
- Every Distributor must have a website and toll-free customer care number.
- Each consumer’s unique identification number must be mentioned in the bill.
- The consumer must be informed about MRP, NCF, customer premised equipment (CPE), security deposit, rentals, warranty and ownership of premised equipment.
- Must obtain a completed consumer application form.
- One time installation charges for new subscribers cannot exceed Rs350.
- One time activation charge cannot exceed Rs100.
- Consumer to be refunded on a pro-rata basis in case a channel is withdrawn by the broadcaster.
- Consumers can request temporary suspension of service for up to three months, every year. Only CPE rental is applicable during this period.
- Reactivation fee cannot exceed Rs25 for active and Rs100 for inactive subscribers.
- A consumer must receive three days prior notice for preventive maintenance.
- For more details, check the FAQs published by TRAI.
Price list for the base value pack
- Star India: Rs 49 (13 channels)
- Zee Entertainment: Rs 45 (24 channels)
- Sony Pictures Network: Rs 31 (9 channels)
- Indiacast: Rs 25 (20 channels)
- Disney: Rs 10 (7 channels)
- Discovery Networks: Rs 8 (8 channels)
- Times Network: Rs 7 (4 channels)
- Turner: Rs 4.8 (2channels)
- NDTV: Rs 3.5 (4 channels)
- TV Today Network: 0.75 paise (2 channels)