Cable TV

Maharashtra stares at possible 3-hour cable TV blackout today as LCOs flex muscle

Consumers in the state could be deprived of their favourite TV channels from 7-10 pm

TV

MUMBAI: Cable operators across the country, and particularly in Maharashtra, seem to have upped the ante in their confrontation with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over the new tariff order that will be applicable to the broadcast sector from 29 December 2018. At a protest gathering in the city on Wednesday, the Cable Operator and Distributors’ Association (CODA) called for a cable TV blackout from 7 to 10 pm today.

The cable operator fraternity has taken affront to the TRAI formula that dictates the revenue sharing model. As per the regulator’s math, MSOs and LCOs will split the network capacity fee (NCF) of Rs 130 in a minimum 55:45 ratio, with no share for the broadcasters. Consumers will have access to 100 FTA channels, including 26 mandatory Doordarshan channels, by paying the NCF. For pay channels, broadcasters will pocket 65 to 80 per cent of the MRP with the MSO and LCOs sharing the rest in a 55:45 ratio.

“The protest is about two things, one is the price hike which is going to affect the customer and second the revenue share. The cable operators must get 40 per cent and the remaining 60 per cent should be divided between the broadcaster and the MSO,” said CODA’s Anil Parab.

Apart from the sector regulator, the Maharashtra cable operators seem to have trained their guns at the Star India Network too. There’s a protest planned at Lower Parel’s Urmi Estate, which houses the Star India office, at 2 pm on 28 December. Not just that, LCOs say they will also refrain from pushing Star’s channel pack to consumers.

“We are boycotting Star India channels. We are going to sit outside Star office in Lower Parel on 28 December at 2 pm. We will not book Star India channels initially,” added Parab.

The reason for their ire at Star is the broadcaster’s alleged refusal to meet and negotiate with cable operators.

“All the broadcasters except Star are in communication with us and are willing to sit across the table to iron out differences,” Maharashtra Cable Operators’ Federation committee member Asif Syed told Indiantelevision.com.

He also said that dissuading consumers from opting for the Star pack won’t be all that difficult given the personal equations LCOs share with most of them.

“It takes about a week to change the viewing preference of consumers. We have first-hand experience of this,” he added.

While the distribution ecosystem is now up in arms, it was Star India that fought the TRAI tooth and nail in the Madras High Court and then the Supreme Court over the tariff order.

In private conversation, however, some operators agree that they should have voiced their concerns on the matter ahead of time. The last-minute agitations may not yield the desired results, but the faction-riddled cable fraternity is determined to put up a united front.

“We demand that the revenue sharing should be around 60 and 40 per cent. 60 per cent of the pay channel revenue should be shared between the MSOs and the broadcasters, and the remaining 40 should purely go to the LCOs. On the FTA channels, minimum fee of Rs 20 should be taken by the MSO for carrying channels up to the LMOs headend, as after that he distributes on his own network. 80 per cent of the networks where FTA channels are carried are in the hands of the LCOs. 20 per cent of the FTA channels revenue should be given to the MSOs,” argues MNS Cable Sena VP Jagdish Joshi.

While the LCOs are spoiling for a fight, MSOs don’t seem to be wanting a piece of the action.

“The protest is about the amendments in the sharing revenue model on pay channels and want it to be changed to 60:40 from 80:20 currently. There is no support from us,” a member of the senior management of a national MSO told Indiantelevision.com on the condition of anonymity.

This protest isn't just a Mumbai phenomenon. LCOs from over 30 associations across the country descended on New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Wednesday asking TRAI to amend the tariff order.

The Vadodara Cable Operator Association, joined by their counterparts from Ahmedabad, called for a complete blackout on 28 December night to let their displeasure known to the regulator during a gathering at the Gandhinagar Gruh.

In Hyderabad on Tuesday, the Old City Cable TV Operators Welfare Association threatened to blackout paid channels and stop payments to MSOs if they were compelled to pay based on the new tariff regime.

“We are not against the tariff order; we just want some amendments to be done before the implementation. As per the trends going in the country, if the revenue share is very unfair, nobody is ready to do business in the country,” Joshi concluded.

Stepping up its efforts to enable a smooth transition, TRAI said it is preparing a detailed Migration Plan for all the existing subscribers. On Wednesday, the regulator issued a circular allaying fears of a potential blackout.

“The authority has noticed that there are messages circulating in the media that there may be a black-out of existing subscribed channels on TV screens after December 29, 2018. The authority is seized of the matter and hereby advises that all broadcasters/DPOs/LCOs will ensure that any channel that a consumer is watching today is not discontinued on 29.12.2018. Hence, there will be no disruption of TV services due to implementation of the new regulatory framework,” the circular said.

Earlier this month, filed a petition seeking clarification on the issue of 15 per cent cap on discount on a bouquet price of TV channels to consumers that had been set aside by Madras High Court while upholding TRAI’s right to regulate the broadcast sector. The matter will be listed when the top court resumes post the winter break in January 2019. There’s another case being heard in the Delhi High Court involving Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV and Discovery India that will be heard on 10 January.

The LCOs are closely monitoring these matters. They also don’t rule out raking up the ongoing issue with the TDSAT. For now, however, they intend to show their might to TRAI and the broadcasters as the country prepares to adopt a new tariff regime. It remains to be seen what impact they can conjure up.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/01/hindujasnxtdigital.jpg?itok=cq7c8UOA
NXT Digital does a financial turnaround in FY 2020

MUMBAI: Among the early movers in the cable TV industry, the Hinduja group run - NXT Digital has turned out impressive financials for the financial year 2020. The topline has shown significant growth, it has turned EBIDTA positive and how; the red ink on its bottomline has been replaced by fat...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/23/Hathway.jpg?itok=xJNa-sb6
Hathway reports higher profits despite lower revenue

The Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani-controlled MSO and broadband internet services provider Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd (Hathway) reported consolidated profit after tax (PAT) at Rs 66.06 crore for the quarter ended 30 June 2020.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/22/tv.jpg?itok=0TPlE6WV
APOS 2020: Why Indian pay TV still holds a lot of potential

Even as the doomsayers have been predicting impending doom for India’s television business and tomtomming the growth of streaming services, Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal and IndiaCast Media Distribution Group CEO Anuj Gandhi believe that there’s tremendous scope to grow pay-TV in India.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/21/den.jpg?itok=bXT5LYcI
Den Networks reports higher profits despite lower revenue in Q1-2021

Indian cable TV and broadband services provider Den Networks Ltd (Den) reported 3.8 percent lower consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 June 2020 (Q1 2021, quarter or period under review) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter (Q1 2020).

Cable TV Multi System Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/17/hatway.jpg?itok=wT9pWmhh
GTPL Hathway reports higher subscription revenue, improved numbers for Q1-2021

GTPL Hathway Ltd (GTPL) reported 19.3 percent growth in revenue for the quarter ended 30 June 2020 (Q1-2021, quarter or period under review) and 8.9 percent growth in the operating profit for its cable TV business (CATV business) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter Q1 2020.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/09/dth.jpg?itok=7n3FuKqm
DPOs, consumer data and the art of upselling content

In the age of online content platforms, knowing what consumers want has become the key to customer acquisition and retention. While these platforms have tons of data to woo the target audience, it is tough for traditional players in cable distribution ecosystem, especially multi-system operators,...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/02/Siti-Network-Limited.jpg?itok=yzx5t7N6
Siti Networks reports improved numbers for FY 2020

The Essel group’s MSO major Siti Networks Limited reported 5.3 percent higher consolidated simple EBIDTA for the year ended 31 March 2020 (FY 2020, year or period under review) as compared to the previous year FY 2019.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/30/Siti-Network-Limited.jpg?itok=tb93rJi4
SITI Networks' FY20 Operating EBITDA surges 1.2X Y-o-Y to Rs.3,538 Mn

SITI Networks Limited (BSE: 532795, NSE: SITINET), an Essel Group Company, one of India’s largest Multi-System Operators (MSO), has released its Consolidated Audited Financial Results for Q4 and full year FY20, ending March 31, 2020.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/30/mpa.jpg?itok=a3q49hok
MPA announces launch of APOS 2020 Virtual Series

APOS, the defining voice and global platform for the Asia Pacific media, telecoms and entertainment industry, is shifting online in 2020 with two virtual editions on 21-23 July and 1-3 September 2020.

Cable TV Multi System Operators

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required