IBF plea to TRAI: leave revenue aspects to market forces

NEW DELHI: It's jockeying that's going on big time as the different stakeholders try to get their point across to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) today expectedly made a strong case in front of the regulator to let "market forces decide" revenue aspects, instead of mandating them, and suggesting that conditional access system be "properly test-marketed before full rollout."

This presentation was made slightly before the cable industry was to go into a meeting with TRAI officials later in the day.

In a lengthy presentation made a short while ago, the IBF conveyed to the TRAI that the interim price freeze of cable services has created confusion, opening avenues of "potential litigation" between stakeholders.

The IBF presentation, a copy of which is available with the, says that the regulator should not step in where revenue share arrangements are to be formalised as such things are "best left to market forces."

On possible restrictions on ad time on pay channels, the IBF has pointed out that the regulator should follow a model that is similar to the print medium as it would be "impractical to lay down standards for compliance."

It has added further that such restrictions of revenue streams would hamper growth and competition in the broadcast industry and increase cost to consumer. "Avoid administered pricing," the IBF has said in its presentation.

Dropping ample hints that the cable industry is to be blamed for the CAS imbroglio, the IBF has said that CAS is just one of the platforms for consumer addressability and transparency and not the ultimate one.

The IBF has also implied that cable ops should provide boxes as an investment to protect acquisition of a consumer, implying that boxes should be given free of cost by the cable industry.

For more on this, stay tuned.

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