It is great to see that TRAI is taking steps to ensure that Indian Cable & DTH services offering becomes more organized. Till a few years back, cable tv in India was completely fragmented and non-standardized. The cable TV world was mostly ruled by gangsters – They would charge at will and TRAI could not really do anything about it.
However, last few years have seen quite a change in this scenario, especially after introduction of satellite Cable Television or DTH. Now, TRAI seems to be bringing even more standardization by putting certain norms in place for how the monthly subscriptions are charged to consumers.
According to press-release published by TRAI yesterday, services provider’s subscription charges cannot exceed Rs. 150 and every channel has to provided on a la carte basis.
Here is what Press Release says:
This tariff order covers all digital addressable systems such as DTH, HITS, IPTV, and digital addressable Cable TV. Under this order:
- The subscribers will have the advantage of choosing the channels they wish to see. Accordingly, the service providers have been mandated to provide pay channels on a la carte basis to subscribers, latest by 1st January 2011 in case of DTH operators (to give enough time to them to reconfigure their systems). The service providers have to publish the channel rates every three months.
- The retail tariff is under forbearance i.e. the service providers can fix the subscriber tariff. In case the service provider is fixing any minimum monthly subscription amount, the same cannot exceed Rs. 150.
- In an addressable system, there would be complete record of the subscribers opting for various channels. So, broadcasters have been mandated to make available TV Channels to distributors of addressable system (DTH, HITS, IPTV and digital addressable Cable TV) on a la carte and bouquets basis at a maximum of 35% of the corresponding rates for non-addressable cable TV services.
TRAI has set a date of September 1st 2010, when this order will come in effect.