TRAI Places New Price Caps, Rules On Pay TV Providers
By Stuart Thomson
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has instituted new rules that mean cable and DTH pay TV subscribers in the country will pay less to add à la carte channels to their basic packages.
From March, the regulated base retransmission package offered by pay TV providers will include 200 channels for INR130 or €1.60 (US$1.79), up from the current 100 channels.
Pay TV providers are also mandated to retransmit 24 channels from state broadcaster Doordashan along with two other channels on top of the 200 they provide for the regulated price.
Subscribers who pay for additional pay TV channels on top of the base rate will also benefit from a new cap on the amount they need to pay. Distributors will not be allowed to charge more than INR160 per month for all channels available on their platform.
According to the new rules, the sum of the a-la-carte rates of the pay channels forming part of a bouquet shall in no case exceed one and half times the rate of the bouquet of which such pay channels are a part and the a-la-carte rates of each pay channel forming part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of the bouquet of which such pay channel is a part.
Only channels with an à la carte fee of INR12 or less will be permitted to be part of the bouquet offered by broadcasters.
The TRAI has also set limits on the size of the market that pay TV distributors can address and has prescribed a cap of INR400,000 a month on carriage fees payable by broadcasters to secure a berth on their platforms.
Other rule changes includes some restrictions on the ability of distributors to move channels around on their EPGs.