TRAI's new tariff order for DTH, cable: Broadcasters call for ratings blackout for 6-8 weeks
The Broadcast Audience Research Council of India is expected to discuss this issue in a meeting within a week
December 19, 2018 / 09:37 AM IST
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) new guidelines on individual channel pricing and packaging will take effect on January 1, following which customers can choose the channels they want to watch and pay their cable or DTH service providers only for them.
Following the disruption this new order has caused, broadcasters have called for a ratings blackout period of 6-8 weeks to adjust to the new pricing regime, Business Standard reported. The Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) is expected to discuss this in a meeting within a week, sources told the paper.
TV viewers would need time to get used to the new pricing regime. During this period, viewership of some channels will fluctuate till the new pattern settles in. Advertisers will be directly impacted by this as advertising slots are sold on the basis of viewership and reach. Therefore, broadcasters are favouring a blackout in the fluctuation period.
BARC is an industry body, in which the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) holds 60 percent stake. The remaining 40 percent is divided equally between advertisers and agencies.
Channels started displaying their maximum retail prices (MRP) in the past few days along with bouquet prices. This order also bars any price disparity between channel prices offered to cable digital platforms and DTH operators.
Experts believe the new regime could lower ratings for mainstream, news and sports channels. "This will impact the long-tail or niche channels more since viewers may not opt for them on a la carte basis. Until now, they were available as part of bouquets, which led to some inevitable sampling on the consumers' part," a senior broadcast executive told the paper.
Another member of the industry said that the industry has taken 2-3 months in the past to adjust to a change of this manner. "When we went from analogue to digital distribution, the ratings were held back for around nine weeks. Similarly, ratings weren't released when we moved from TAM to BARC," the person was quoted as saying.
Experts believe the ratings data can be released retrospectively, as has been done in previous cases of ratings blackout.