The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has wobbled up the DTH and Cable Tv operators with its new guidelines vis-a-vis channel pricing. In an endeavor to make the television subscription more affordable and to pluck users from the hoarding of Tv channels, the TRAI has mandated its new regulatory regime.
As per the reports of TRAI, more than 50% of the TV viewers in India watch only around 30 channels while the operators offer around 300-odd channels. So the customers were needlessly spending for channels they never watch, and hence the TRAI wants to rectify this glitch.
The nascent guidelines issued by the TRAI will kick start from February 1st.
As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, more than 40 percent of Cable TV and DTH consumers have already pitched in on relevant plans under the new tariff mechanism notified by it. TRAI has also declined all the possibilities of further extending the stipulated deadline of February 1st.
What are the new rules implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India?
In its regulatory regime, TRAI has capped the pricing of SD and HD channel at Rs 19 plus taxes for the broadcasters as compared to its previous regulatory laws. Earlier, it was very much common practice for the broadcasters to charge more for the channels which were popular, but with these new rules, such overtures will come to a halt.
TRAI has asserted that this new framework will be impermeable, transparent and hence will restrict any distributor from charging above the MRP declared by a broadcaster.
Moreover, broadcasters can now offer a more massive bouquet of channels if they wish, but at the same time would have to offer each and every channel on an a-la-carte basis.
As per the new rules, subscribers will have to plump for a base pack which encompasses 100 free-to-air channels and will be appraised at Rs 130 plus taxes. Among the 100 free-to-air channels you can choose any free-to-air SD and HD channels bearing in mind that if you choose any free-to-air HD channel, it would be counted as two SD channels.
Subscribers will also have the liberty to choose other additional channels apart from the base pack channels by paying for their a-la-carte prices as asserted by the broadcasters respectively.
How can users check for new DTH, cable tv prices?
Popular DTH operators like Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV, and Tata Sky have already unveiled their channel prices following the latest guidelines of TRAI.
The TRAI has penned down the MRP of all the channels in bouquets on their website (www.channeltariff.trai.gov.in) as provided by the respective broadcasters.
Apart from it, Airtel subscribers can also check the a-la-carte and combo price lists of the channels on the Airtel website. Furthermore, Dish Tv Hathway and Siti Cable have also unveiled the plan details on their respective websites.
Tata Sky has also revealed its new prices for the channels and has provided a dedicated pack selection portal for its users. In this portal, a Tata Sky user can enter their registered subscriber ID or mobile number and choose an appropriate pack of their choice with ease. Additionally, the users can also make use of the company’s website or the nearest Tata Sky dealer for support.
What if annual subscription charges are paid by a subscriber in advance?
Whilst among the chaos of migrating to new tariff plans, many users are wondering about what will become of their existing annual subscription plans.
In such cases, existing availed plan can be switched over to the new subscription packages as per the guidelines of TRAI, and the proportionate balance amount of the existing package as on the date of the switch-over will be settled for the new package prices after 1st February.
Analyzing the flaws of the new TRAI regulatory rules
While it is a laudable step on the part of the TRAI to juggle tariffs to make TV subscription more affordable and reasonable, it could have gradually laid down the process instead of implementing an immediate blanket ban to the existing subscription packages.
Furthermore, there are not many enticing options to choose from in the base pack. Whether you choose 100 channels or just 30, you will have to pay Rs130 plus taxes for that. Moreover, almost all the popular SD channels are priced virtually identical with their HD counterparts, which can pose a dilemma for a subscriber while choosing his favorite channels at a low price.
Ultimately, this new process will mean that either your TV subscription is going up, or you will end up subscribing to a lesser number of channels that you are used to.
Sources: The Indian Express, The Hindu, HT, The Week
Image: TV News