The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has clarified (pdf) that the consumers have the option to choose a-la-carte free to air channels OR Pay channels OR bouquet of pay channels or any combination within the desired 100 SD channels, within the network capacity fee of maximum Rs 130. The consumers, however, can choose only SD channels and not HD.
This is with respect to TRAI’s new tariff order that allows consumers to choose channels that they want to watch. In its press release, the TRAI said that it has noticed “that several broadcasters are advertising their channels in the form of bouquets only.” But viewers can choose their desired channels from a-la-carte, free to air channels, pay channels or bouquet of pay channel and that the choice rests with the consumer.
The maximum price for each channel can be seen on the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) or the menu. Consumers may contact the Local Cable Operator directly, contact the call centre or reach out to the company through the website of the distribution platform operator.
The TRAI has informed the consumers to exercise their choice before January 31, 2019 to avoid last minute inconvenience and rush. The new tariff framework was originally announced in March 2017 and was to go into effect on December 28, 2018 but was postponed by a month. All the distribution platform operators have to migrate to the new framework from February 1, 2019.
Rolling out of individual channel pricing
The TRAI has provided a detailed pricing structure as per the new tariff regime:
- TRAI has prescribed 100 channels for Rs 130
- Any subscriber who opts for more than 100 channels can choose additional channels in each slab of 25 channels and will have to pay Rs 20 per slab
- The consumer can choose pay-channels of their choice on an a-la-carte basis or in the form of bouquets made by broadcasters and distributors
- The new framework provides information on Pay Channel pricing structure whereby no distributor can charge above MRP
In light of TRAI’s new framework for broadcasting and cable services, DTH operators such as Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV and cable service providers such as Hathway and Den Networks have put out pricing for individual TV channels.
– Cable and DTH operators roll out individual channel pricing per TRAI regulation
– TRAI for the (consumer’s) win: Let users pay for what they want to watch on TV
– TRAI seeks comments on the TV audience measurement and ratings consultation paper