Cable TV Operators Urge IBF to Offer Discount on Pay Channels for 4 Months

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The spread of COVID-19 has disrupted the business of Cable TV operators. Since the government announced the lockdown period to combat the deadly virus, production of new content from pay channels suffered. To ensure that cable operators don’t face financial distress, Maharashtra Cable Operators Foundation (MCOF) have urged the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) members who operate pay channels to provide a discount on pay tariffs for a period of four months starting from April 20 to August 20. A partial discount of pay tariffs will still help the cable operators to operate in difficult times.

No Original Content is Being Produced

MCOF addressed IBF and stated two major reasons for the discount on pay tariffs request. Firstly, due to the spread of COVID-19, channels are not producing fresh content, and the older programmes are being recycled from the past two months. Secondly, subscriber’s ability to pay for the service has also been reduced as the spending capacity has taken a hit due to the current stressful situation. MCOF stated in the letter that the request is being made specifically for members that operate pay channels with monthly tariff ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 19 for SD channels and variable extra for HD channels.

Subscribers Might Discontinue Pay Channels

MCOF also noted in the letter that subscribers have already pointed towards the programmes which are being recycled from the past two months. If the situations are the same, subscribers will discontinue the pay channels on their own. Even if the subscriber stays, MCOF will discontinue the channels as MSOs are asking for upfront payments, and subscribers are unable to pay for the service. In order to ensure that interest of subscribers and cable operators is protected, MCOF has asked for a discount on pay tariffs. Even if a full waiver is granted for four months, it will be a significant relief for the subscribers as well as cable operators. MCOF also stated that granting discounts on pay tariffs will create goodwill with customers, and it will also retain the customers for the channels to ensure that advertising income does not grow much.

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