IBF questions need for new tariff order revisions

The new order to impact content quality, employment, niche channels as well

MUMBAI: The last six months have been rather unsettling for the television sector what with the regulator the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India revising tariff regulations for pay TV at least a couple of times. Indian broadcasting CEOs hence came together under the umbrella of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) on 10 January to air their concerns about the latest amendments in the new tariff order.  They were more than clear that the latest revision is going to adversly affect their toplines and bottomlines and hence that may leave them no recourse but to consider legal options.

While the new price regime implemented in the last year did not have enough time to settle, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) once again revised the order recently including reducing the pricing cap to Rs 12 per channel to be included in a bouquet, down from Rs 19 per channel.

“Even as the new regime was settling down, on 1 January 2020, TRAI notified certain amendments to the New Tariff Order and Interconnection Regulations for the broadcast sector. These amendments attempt to make further disruptive changes in an industry already grappling with the paradigm shift to an MRP based pricing regime,” IBF president and  Sony Pictures Networks MD & CEO N P Singh expressed.

He also mentioned that while the broadcasting industry is apprehensive about the magnitude of changes, they support bringing in order into the system.

Singh also noted that the collective cost to the broadcasters was well over Rs 1,000 crore in just communicating the changes to the consumers. Moreover, there was an overall loss of 12-15 million subscribers in the process.

Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific president, Star  Disney India chairman Uday Shankar also raised the question that if a comprehensive exercise was done last year, then what is the need for the current revision. He also added that if TRAI is so concerned with bringing down the price for the consumer then why, in the name of NCF (network capacity fee), distributors are being allowed to charge as much as Rs 160 for something that DD FreeDish is giving for free.

“The objective of NTO 1 was first - to give choice to consumers, second - to bring transparency and third - to reduce litigation. While only the first two have happened, it's too early to talk about the third. Statistically, overall 94 per cent of Indians are aware of the NTO and the choices they have because of the efforts made by the broadcast industry collectively. The month on month churn in industry shows that people are continuously fine-tuning their choices. The other objective of NTO was transparencey which it has also brought in. The question therefore, is ‘what is the fundamental need to change again?,’" posed Viacom18 Group CEO & MD & IBF vice president Sudhanshu Vats.

"India is a heterogenous country with different choices and abilities to pay. In every sector there is a wide spectrum and that needs to play out more in Indian media as well. This push for consistency shouldn’t come in the way of the industry's and the economy's growth. In the M&E industry there is a lot of dynamism and flux and hence the broadcast sector needs to be able to settle down. If there has to be any change we need to allow for enough time for its implementation and also changes shouldn't be suggested so frequently," he added.

Shankar also emphasised on the problems that long-tail channels will face. He commented that the latest revisions will seriously threaten the existence of smaller channels. He also raised concerns about the quantum of investment in content, which broadcasters have been making. 

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) CEO & MD Punit Goenka also questioned if these changes are in line with the government’s stated intent of improving the ease of doing business. According to him, whether it will really benefit end consumers is also arguable. 

Latest Reads
Zee Telugu to launch ‘Trinayani’ on 2 March

MUMBAI: Zee Telugu strengthens its primetime offering with a new fantasy drama Trinayani. An impeccable fiction tale, Trinayani highlights the life of a seer, who can foresee the future and the past. Produced by Annapurna Studios, the epic one-of-its-kind fictional drama will go on-air starting 2...

Television TV Channels Regional
SAT further stays SEBI's impugned order against NDTV till next hearing

MUMBAI: The Securities Appellate Tribunal has further extended the relief to New Delhi Television news channel’s promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, against the impugned order of the Securities and Exchange Board of India till next hearing. According to a BSE filing of the NDTV, “The Securities...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Sony Entertainment Television’s India’s Best Dancer to premiere on 29 February

After the roaring success of Super Dancer – a dance reality platform for kids, Sony Entertainment Television will launch India’s Best Dancer, a platform for dancers between the age group of 15 – 30 years on 29 Febraury.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Sony BBC Earth concludes the third edition of ‘feel alive hours’ in schools across India

MUMBAI:In its continued efforts in inspiring, influencing and making students ‘feel alive’ with its enthralling content, Sony BBC Earth, India’s most loved factual entertainment channel, recently concluded the third edition of ‘feel alive hours’. Post the phenomenal success of the first and second...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
News channels unveil programming, content strategy for Trump's visit to India

When the US president comes visiting, news channels need to stay on their toes. Indian news channels are now gearing up for a special and round-the-clock coverage of the maiden visit of the United States of America’s president Donald Trump to India on 24-25 February.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Fakt Marathi to convert into full GEC from April 2020

The free to air (FTA) Marathi channel Fakt Marathi has made a strategic move to compete with pay broadcasters in the post NTO era. The channel is all set to become a complete GEC from April 2020. It will air three hours of original content in the primetime slot in genres like kids, mythology, socio...

Television TV Channels Regional
Sports channels reverse viewership loss but still weak in week 6 of BARC

MUMBAI: The viewership of overall sports channels continued to decline as per data published by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India. Sports broadcasters fell marginally by over 2 per cent in week six (8-14 February) as compared to week five (1-7 February). The decrease in eyeballs is...

Television TV Channels Viewership
English news records highest ratings in 2020 during Delhi elections, results week

Runup to elections and election results announcements are big viewership drivers for news channels in India. Assembly elections on 8 February 2020 and announcement of the election results of the New Delhi legislative assembly in week 6 of 2020 (Saturday, 8 February 2020 to Friday, 14 February 2020.

Television TV Channels Viewership
BARC week 6: Four Zee regional channels lead regional markets

In week six of BARC India ratings, Zee's four regional channels  Zee Bangla, Zee Biskope, Zee Marathi and Zee Kannada led in Bangla, Bhojpuri, Marathi and Kannada markets respectively. Zee Punjabi and Zee were seen holding second position in their respective market, whereas Zee Tamil holds third...

Television TV Channels Viewership

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required