FTA Channels Face A Dicey Future; Cable Users Claim Upto 80% Increase In Expenses

As per TRAI, there has been very less complaints.

FTA Channels have a dicey future?
FTA Channels have a dicey future?

Under the new Cable TV rules, TRAI has mandated that for Rs 130 plus GST as Network Connect Fees, consumers can get 100 FTA or Free to Air channels.

But now, there exists some confusion regarding the future of these FTA channels. How will be advertisement rates be determined? And which channels will actually survive?

Meanwhile, as per research by ET, it has been found cable TV users are facing great inconvenience due to the new Cable rules.

Infact, some users in Mumbai has reported upto 80% increase in monthly cable TV expenses.

What exactly is happening here?

FTA Channels Face A Dicey Future

The fate of 100 channels which can be included in the base pack of any Cable or DTH user now lies with the MSOs and the consumer demand. And this has shifted the dynamics of the TV industry.

Experts are arguing about the survival of most of the FTA channels, and how big broadcasters have unleashed disruption in this space.

Recently Viacom18 owned Colors Rishtey launched two new FTA channels, which proves that broadcasters are now willing to provide FTA and garner more eyeballs, in order to gain from advertisement rates.

But where will this leave smaller FTA channels, which have survived till now because they were selected by default in the old packages?

Sujata Dwibedy from Dentsu Aegis Network says that the clarity on viewership and advertisement rates will only come after March 31st, when the deadline for new Cable TV rules expire. She said, “MSOs are making and selling their own packages to consumers, which will impact FTA.”

As per Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP News Network, very soon, there will be a fight between bigger broadcasters, and smaller channels, to compete for the 100 FTA channels slots. Since every channel in the 100 channel base pack will be free, what will determine its inclusion? Content quality or monetary benefits?

He says that their business model can become unviable: “If Trai handles this well, then FTA channels’ carriage fees will go down, else the broadcaster might end up paying through their nose. Our business will become unviable with a high carriage fee.”

Mumbai: Upto 80% Increase In Cable Expenses?

As per Arvind Kumar, advisor on broadcasting at TRAI, who is supposed to receive all complaints pertaining to the new Cable TV regime, there have been very less complaints due from the cable customers in India.

As per him, MSOs have reported 100% migration to the new Cable TV regime, and DTH operators have migrated close to 60% of their customers.

But the reality is something very different.

Users are complaining that their cable operator hasn’t been able to activate all the pay channels they wanted, and in some cases, they have not been able to select the best FTA channels they wished.

An unnamed TV broadcaster admitted that his own cable TV expenses have increased by whopping 80%.

He said, “My mother wants the cookery channel, I want news and sports, whereas my wife wants all Hindi general entertainment channels. My teenage daughter wants English movies and music channels, and my younger son wants kids’ channels. So, I ended up selecting 51 channels. My bill is up by 70-80%,”

Did you experience any increase in cable TV expenses? Do let us know by commenting right here!

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