TRAI’s New TV Channel Packs Can Spell Doom For Smaller Channels: This Is The Reason Why?

TRAI's New TV Channel Packs Can Spell Doom For Smaller Channels
TRAI’s New TV Channel Packs Can Spell Doom For Smaller Channels

Just some days back, we covered a story in relation with the country’s telecom regulator, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Some new announcements again, encirlcle the regulator which this time might not be the bests news for small channel company holders.

TRAI to Scrutinise the Upper Price Cap

There have been so many companies who largely directly and indirectly depend upon television and related mediums. It turns out that many television broadcasters, especially the ones who don’t have much viewership to their channels are facing a rather uncertain future with the sector regulator looking to rein in channel bouquets.

The TRAI released its consultation paper last week, in which it had addressed three major points:

  • Bundling certain channels under bouquets
  • Rampant discounting within bouquets
  • Lack of consumer choice for desired channels

In order to tackle these issues, TRAI has decided to put up cap on discounts within bouquets and scrutinize the upper cap price, currently fixed at Rs. 19. Some broadcasters said that Trai had adhered to the cap on the channel price when it came to popular names in general entertainment, sports and movies, smaller channels were arbitrarily priced. 

TRAI Shall Restrict Channel Bouquets

The bottom line right now in discussion is that small channel holders may have to wind up if TRAI decides to come up with a plan that allows restriction to channel bouquet s. What is for sure is that the cap on discounting will be reintroduced.

As per TRAI, why shall customers have to navigate through a bouquet of channels that they don’t wish to see? However, these bouquets allow independent broadcasters to bundle those channels that are not in the consideration set of costumers along with popular channels. This is a worldwide practice and India is no exception.

Some broadcasters believe that smaller players may have to fold up if TRAI goes ahead with its consultation paper in its current form. Some others say that smaller players may to reinvent their business models to survive. 

The new tariff order allows broadcasters and distribution platform operators to offer channels both ala carte and in bouquets. The basic tier, in fact, mandated by the tariff order, which is of 100 free-to-air channels for Rs 130, is a bouquet offering. Thus, the impression that broadcasters are gaming the system to push bouquets is incorrect.

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