Broadcasting sector regulator TRAI has proposed that television households should pay Rs 130 as monthly rental per set top box for 100 standard definition channels. According to its new draft tariff order, on which TRAI has sought suggestions, the broadcasters should also declare the maximum retail price (MRP) of their “a la carte” channels for their subscribers.
TRAI has also proposed a genre-wise ceiling on the channel prices. However, broadcasters have been allowed to offer premium channels, which would have no ceiling on MRP and could be offered to subscribers only on an a la carte basis.
In the draft order, TRAI has said that distributors of TV channels can form bouquets only from a la carte channels of broadcasters.
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However, the retail price of such a bouquet of pay channels will not be less than 85 per cent of the sum of MRP of a la carte channels forming part of the bouquet.
The regulator has also said that distributors of TV channels have to offer at least one bouquet, referred to as a basic tier, of 100 free to air channels including all the channels which have to be mandatorily shown to viewers as per the government norms.
TRAI has also suggested that a subscriber may request for additional network capacity in bundles or lots of 25 SD channels at a rate of Rs 20 per month for subscribing to more than 100 channels. This accounts for additional bandwidth cost by distributors of television channels, TRAI has said.
In the consultation paper, stakeholders were asked to suggest whether the option of pay-per-view (PPV) be made available to the subscribers and if so, whether the tariff of such viewing be regulated.
In response, most of the stakeholders, including broadcasters and distributors of television channels are not in favour of pay-per-view option. They suggested that it is not feasible to implement PPV because it will be difficult for the broadcasters and the MSOs to keep track in reference to such volatile changes.
TRAI has sought comments on its order from stakeholders by October 24.