The telecom regulator set up a new tariff regime under which consumers can select TV channels they want to watch and pay the MRP set by their respective broadcasters for it
Starting January 1, TV viewers may have to pay more for their monthly cable or DTH subscription, as the new tariff order for the broadcasting sector by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) becomes effective, The Economic Times reported.
The telecom regulator set up a new tariff regime under which consumers can select TV channels they want to watch, and pay the maximum retail price (MRP) set by their respective broadcasters for it. All TV networks have released MRPs of their channels over the last few days.
Big TV networks like Star and Zee have come out with their own bouquets, with popular and non-popular channels grouped together for a price.
According to the report, customers will have to shell out Rs 430-440 per month for basic, non-premium channels (no HD or regional channels) under this new system. In the existing regime, consumers of phase 3 and 4 towns pay Rs 200-250, and in the big cities, cable or DTH bills run up to Rs 350-400 with over 250 channels, including sports and regional channels.
Customers will have to pay Rs 130 plus taxes for the first set of 100 channels once the new rate card becomes effective, and this does not include famous networks like Zee, Star India and Sony.
Under the new regime, customers will have to pay Rs 450 for basic Hindi channels, if they opt for bouquets, which are discounted nearly 35-40 percent. If they buy channels individually, it could cost them over Rs 800.
"One can expect phase 1 and 2 subscribers to pay more but convincing price sensitive phase 3 and 4 to cough up extra for TV services, who are currently paying Rs 200-250 per month, will be a challenge," Vivekanand Subbaraman, analyst at Ambit Capital, told the paper.
Metro cities fall under phase 1, while cities with a population over 1 million are phase 2 markets. Cities with a population over 1 lakh form phase 3 markets and cities with less than 1 lakh population make up phase 4, according to TRAI guidelines.
With this move, TRAI intends to give the customers a choice and does not want cable and DTH operators to show customers channels they don't want to watch. The regulator aims to make the broadcast framework transparent and fair with the new regime.
"There is no way people will pay extra for less number of channels just because the TRAI has changed the rule," a unnamed cable operator was quoted as saying.A top executive from the industry expects anarchy in the new year as the order is to be implemented within the next 15 days and consumers are still unaware of it.