Television

Tariff order implementation: Pay channels' connectivity drops ranging from 61% to 0.5% across genres

FTA channels seem to have benefitted due to the new tariff order

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MUMBAI: The ongoing flux in the broadcast sector due to the new TRAI tariff order implementation has had a significant impact on the connectivity of pay channels in the country. After the new regulatory framework kicked in on 1 February, pay channels’ connectivity witnessed a drop ranging from 61 per cent to 0.5 per cent across genres. Free-to-air (FTA) channels, however, seem to have benefitted under the new regime so far.

“NTO deployment is creating massive nightmare for all DPOs, whether it is DTH or cable. The technology is unable to handle the massive data that is getting ported to these boxes. So what’s happening is the technology is collapsing, they don’t know what is happening in the data centres because of which the channels are dropped out,” CEO of a major broadcaster told Indiantelevision.com on the condition of anonymity.

Chrome DM live data week 7 has reported a major change in consumption patterns across genres. Pay channels from the English news stable, endured a drop in connectivity by 24 per cent, while the FTA channels witnessed a growth of six per cent with Republic TV, News X and Channel News Asia being the biggest gainers. The kids’ genre channels saw an overall drop both across Pay and FTA of 34 per cent and three per cent respectively.  Interestingly, the connectivity of Maha Cartoon Network rose by eight per cent.

While the connectivity of Hindi GEC channels connectivity reduced by 0.5 per cent, that of FTA Hindi GECs increased by 0.1 per cent. Dillagi was the top gainer in Hindi GEC FTA genre followed by Mubu TV. Among other genres, Hindi movie channels experienced a slight drop in FTA, with Hindi news pay channels sailing in the same boat. Hindi news FTA channels, however, saw a 0.4 per cent growth, with News 1 India, Bhaskar News, News World India and IND 24 being the bigger beneficiaries.

The regional markets were a reflection of HSM trends. However, the drop in connectivity was lower. Tamil channels across genres were hit by a slight drop ranging from 0.1 per cent to 0.3 per cent.

“Maharashtra saw a slight drop both across FTA and pay with Marathi GEC being mislaid by 0.5 per cent across pay channels, Marathi movies by 0.2 per cent and Marathi music by 0.1 per cent,” the report stated.

The Chrome data week 7 has reiterated that the offtake of DPO designed packages continues to be higher, standing at 15.5 per cent rate in urban India. The data added that 73.5 per cent still haven’t gained access to the new packs and continue to receive the 300 odd channels as per their old packs. According to the data, only FTA channels packs have reached 5.3 per cent of the TV homes followed by broadcaster packs at 4.1 per cent and a-la-carte at two per cent.

“Broadcaster packages offtake has a direct correlation of quantity and price with the India consumer – which is led by Zee (23 channels @ Rs. 39) followed by Sony, Star and Colors. For the Non-GEC category - Discovery, Disney and Times Network lead – however they are a distant second to the GEC offtake across HSM,” Chrome DM founder Pankaj Krishna said.

“When TRAI channel tariff order is enforced, channel availability per home will reduce from approx. 350 channels to 100+50. So, today most GEC channels have 90 per cent + distribution and about 35 per cent weekly reach. After TRAI these channels could land up having 30 per cent distribution and 30 per cent reach,” Madison Group CEO Vikram Sakhuja said earlier this week at an event.

In light of the new tariff order implementation, BARC released its weekly TV viewership data only to those that have subscribed to its service. The audience measurement company is yet to state until when it intends to continue doing so.

“We need to stick to BARC guidelines because that’s the norm or benchmark we have in this country. I think TRAI is also in close conversation with the authorities that how much of migration has happened, how much of it is pending right now and that is why they have extended the deadline to 31 March 2019. Ultimately the system needs to stabilise. Till that time I don’t think the numbers will make any difference to any advertiser,” marketing head of an FMCD major had recently told Indiantelevision.com.

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