Following the top four broadcasters – Star & Disney India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE), Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), and Viacom18 – updating their channel pricing in compliance with the amended tariff order, TV viewers may have to pay up to 50% more for the same number of TV channels starting December 1, reported The Economic Times.
The price increase is an unforeseen effect of new tariff regulations for the TV broadcast sector, which were designed to lower consumers’ monthly cable or DTH (direct-to-home) bills, the report quoted experts as saying.
NTO 2.0, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), will give viewers more choice and flexibility to choose and pay for only the channels they wish to watch.
However, the broadcasters have excluded all popular channels from bouquets, with these networks costing between Rs 15 and Rs 25 per month.
TRAI has regulated the price of channels at Rs 12 if they were part of a bouquet under NTO 2.0. Broadcasters were able to charge more for their channels if they were not included in the bouquets.
As a result, consumers will have to select channels à la carte in order to watch more popular channels like Star Plus, Colors, Zee TV, Sony, and certain regional general entertainment networks, which will boost their monthly TV cost by around 35-50 percent, the report quoted market watchers as saying.
The report quoted a top executive of a large network as saying that they have come up with their own pricing as they haven’t got anything from the Supreme Court.
According to the new pricing, if a viewer in Mumbai wants to keep watching Star & Disney India channels, which were previously accessible for Rs 49 per month, he/she will now have to pay Rs 69 per month for the same number of channels.
The viewer will have to pay Rs 71 per month for SPN instead of Rs 39; Rs 49 (instead of Rs 39) for ZEE; and Rs 39 per month for Viacom18 channels, up from Rs 25 already charged.
The Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) said in its affidavit to the Supreme Court that implementing NTO 2.0 will raise prices.
The ET report quoted the distribution head of another broadcast network as saying that this predicament is the result of regulatory overzealousness and added that the distribution revenues have suffered immensely in the last two years.
Lower socioeconomic class (SEC) consumers may convert to DD Free Dish (Prasar Bharati-owned free DTH service) when cable TV and private DTH become less inexpensive, while higher SECs may switch to video streaming services, the report quoted industry experts as saying.
The ET report quoted Ashish Pherwani, partner- Media & Entertainment at EY as saying that it would be apt to monitor how the share of à la carte subscription income changes over the following two quarters
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