News Broadcasters today said they were willing to pay ‘reasonable’ carriage fees after the digitization of cable services as a solution was reached at a meeting chaired by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Rahul Khullar last week.
‘Carriage fee’,which broadcasters pay to Multi System Operators(MSOs) and Local Cable Operators(LCOs) for taking their channels to viewers,has been a contentious issue which had pitted broadcasters on one side and MSOs and LCOs on the other.
While placement fee has been specifically prohibited in the TRAI notification,concerns have been regularly expressed about the lack of clarity with regard to carriage fees,whether it has to be paid at all after digitisation and if so,at what rates? NBA said.
NBA said the issue was discussed at a meeting chaired by the TRAI chief on October 11 with representatives of MSO Alliance and broadcasters.
TRAI Chairperson mentioned the specific concerns of news broadcasters with regard to carriage fees in the digitised regime. He mentioned that his predecessor had indicated what reasonable carriage fees should be in a digitized regime, the NBA statement said.
The NBA said since Khullar had asked broadcasters and MSOs to enter into such agreements,the news channels had agreed not to oppose his suggestion and decided to enter into agreements to pay a reasonable amount.
The NBA said the TRAI chairman had referred to a rate of 50 paisa to one rupee per set top box subscriber,per channel per year as a reasonable rate boundary.
He (Khullar) also exhorted broadcasters and MSOs to enter into agreements on carriage fees within the next few days so that all is set by the time digitisation rolls out in the four metros from the 1st November,2012, the NBA said.