I&B ministry to take up cable TV monopoly recommendations

MUMBAI: The inter-ministerial committee in the information and broadcasting ministry (MIB) is likely to take up the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI’s) recommendations on controlling monopoly/market dominance in the cable TV sector this week. These were released by the TRAI on 26 November 2013. This was revealed by MIB minister Manish Tewari to the Times of India (TOI) yesterday.

According to the TRAI recommendations, a barometer known as the Herfindahl Hirschman Index (HHI) is to be used to measure monopoly of MSOs or cable TV service providers in a market which as defined as a state (with certain exceptions).

The recommendations state that “the threshold value for any individual/group/entity contribution to the market HHI should be no more than 2500.”  According to the TOI report, this constitutes 50 per cent market share, the market being defined as a state.

The TRAI recommendations further state that “any M&A among MSO(s) or between an MSO and LCO in a relevant market shall require the prior approval of the regulator. The decision on any proposal, complete in all aspects, shall be conveyed within 90 working days.”

They go on to further add that in "the cases where any group’s contribution to HHI in a market is more  than 2500 as on the date of issue of guidelines, such legal entity/ ‘group’ shall take necessary remedial measures, within 12 months from the date of issue of guidelines, so as to limit  its ‘control’ in various MSO(s)/ LCO(s) in such a way that the  contribution to market HHI of that ‘group’ reduces to less than or equal to 2500.”

Tewari told the TOI that the ministry was “seriously looking at introducing a cap on the market share of MSOs to stop monopolistic practices, whether due to political pressure or political ownership, to protect plurality and diversity of content." 

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