Television

Trai meets broadcasters on CAS, firm on channel MRPs

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NEW DELHI: Broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Thursday held discussions with industry stakeholders, but was firm that a la carte pricing of channels is inevitability.

Still, the regulator seemed sympathetic to a revenue share formula in favour of MSOs and broadcasters over and above a certain price.

Thursday’s meeting that Trai held with some broadcasters was more of a formality as the regulator made it clear to broadcasters present that maximum retail price (MRP) of TV channels under CAS regime is coming whether some like it or not.

According to information available with Indiantelevision.com, most participants were against a la carte pricing of channels and pitched for wholesale prices, which would give the cable operators a chance to fix some margins for themselves.

However, Trai was categorical that as per a government mandate MRP of a TV channel under a CAS regime has to be decided and would be finalised by 31 August 2006; industry feedback notwithstanding.

Those who attended Thursday’s meeting included representatives from Star India, Sony Discovery One Alliance, Global Broadcast Network, Zee Network and Indian Broadcasting Foundation.

Trai has been mandated by the government to fix the norms, including pricing of individual channels, under a CAS regime, which is slated to be rolled out in the south zones of Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai from 1 January 2007.

The government on 31 July issued a notification setting 31 December, 2006 as the deadline for the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata to be fully "CAS delivered" as a Delhi court had desired.

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