Cable TV Bills To Drop After New Tariff Regime Kicks In From February 1: TRAI Chief
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma has said that monthly cable TV tariffs will significantly reduce after the new broadcasting regime based on ‘MRP-based model’ kicks in from February 1, 2019. The new regime focuses on channel pricing and ensures to cater to more options, lower content cost, and transparency for viewers. The TRAI Chief also cleared the air over immediate black-out in case a customer fails to log into the new regime and promised that there would be no black screen immediately as free channels will continue to beam, reported the Times of India.
He said people failing to log into the new regime will keep enjoying free channels, though it is expected that most of the pay-TV consumers will switch to the new set-up within the set deadline to enjoy lower tariffs. On raising questions regarding consumer benefits through this new regime, Sharma added that a-la-carte channel prices have already started crashing as the new regime comes closer to reality.
No need to pay for unwanted channels
He said that earlier people had a lot of load on them as consumers had to pay for unnecessary channels to get channels of their likes. Through bouquets, the broadcasters and cable operators were shoving more channels on the people. The new exercise will provide more transparency and will give powers to TV consumers. This is done to rule out unnecessary channels.
Sharma said that it has been found according to the studies that people who pay for more than 200-250 channels as part of packages and bouquets hardly watch more than 50 channels in reality. By bringing a low priced MRP regime, people will make an informed choice and will only pay for channels that they actually watch.
Basic package price starts at Rs 130
The new regulation has a basic price of Rs 130 for which a consumer can receive 100 free-to-air channels. The customer might opt for a set of free channels or might replace it with some paid channels. Sharma hinted that Rs 130 can be even revised downward if a consumer wishes to. The subscription price of channels that were submitted by the broadcasters to TRAI in December was lower than those listed by cable and DTH operators on their website.
TRAI found that in some case the proposed price was 4-5 times cheaper than the listed prices. TRAI has also set a limit on individual channel’s pricing as some of them were as high as Rs 60. Sharma informed that the watchdog has come up with a new website – www.channel.trai.gov.in- that will guide consumers to pick the channels on their choices.