Trai discusses CAS with pay channels

NEW DELHI: Most of the pay channel operators today, once again, conveyed to broadcast and cable regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), that certain things like bundling of channels in bouquets in an addressable regime should be left to the market forces.

Though the different views had a common thread of conditional access system (CAS), but Trai sources indicated that there were "differences" in the approaches of broadcasters to issues.

For example, whether CAS should be mandatory or not, the old differences cropped up again today. Zee Telefilms, according to Trai sources, rooted for a mandatory clause, while others were for voluntary implementation of addressability in Indian cable homes.

The regulator was interacting with the pay channel representatives today before it finalises its recommendations on a host of issues related to CAS, which has been hanging fire after the previous government denotified its implementation on a recommendation from the regulator.

It is expected that by next month Trai would submit its report to the government, which, then, has to take a final call on the CAS issue. I&B minister Jaipal Reddy has already said that he is against any "hasty implementation" of CAS.

On the issue of non-discrimination on content, the likes of Sony and Star were of the opinion that all type of content could not be made available to everybody and to every platform as it depended on commercial contracts between a broadcaster and the cable op / MSO.

The meeting that was primarily held to look into the desirability of CAS failed to come up with something new or startling.

Those who attended today's four-hour meeting included

representatives from Star India, Sony Entertainment Television, Discovery India, Zee Telefilms and Ten Sports.

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