Trai rejects MSO plea for a la carte rates for new pay channels

MUMBAI: The cable and broadcast regulator has rejected a proposal from the MSO Alliance that would have required broadcasters to offer new pay channels only as individual channels (a la carte).

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), in its order issued today, noted that "there have been developments in the area of DTH in terms of likelihood of a competing operator and the decision of the Delhi High Court on implementation of CAS in the Metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata." In the light of these developments Trai has come to the conclusion that the proposal to provide for new pay channels only as individual channel WOULD NOT lead to better consumer choice in the absence of addressability at the consumer end. Trai has decided that the only amendment that is required in the Tariff Order of 1 October 2004, is to provide for a framework to benchmark the prices of new pay channels.

Accordingly, Trai has added a new section 3B to the 1 october 2004 order stating that in determining the similarity of rates of similar channels while benchmarking the price of a new pay channel, the factors such as the genre and language of the new pay channel /converted FTA to pay channel, range of prices ascribed to the channel of similar genre and language in the price of bouquets that existed on 26.12.2003, range of prices of individual channels of similar 

genre and language as existing in CAS areas would be taken into account.

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