Due to rising a la carte and bouquet channel prices from top TV broadcasters, customers should expect their monthly TV subscription expenses to go up. The new prices will take effect on February 1 of the following year. Sun TV Network, Culver Max Entertainment, and Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) have submitted their reference interconnect offers (RIO). These are documents that a service provider publishes that outline the terms and conditions under which a different service provider may apply to interconnect to that provider's network.
According to a report by ET Telecom, a senior executive at a cable TV company claimed that the company had asked TRAI (the regulator for this industry's telecom services in India) to prevent rates from returning to the Rs 19 cap, but that the authority had not heeded its request. Broadcasters won't raise the prices, TRAI repeatedly assured DPOs (distribution platform operators). Sony and Zee have recently increased the MRP of many channels. The cost of some bouquets has gone up by 10 -15%. And, in some instances, the growth is considerably greater.
Increased TV Channel Prices
The price increase follows TRAI's November 22 notification of amendments to the regulatory framework governing broadcasting services. In the revised framework, Trai eliminated the "twin conditions" and restored the previous MRP cap of Rs 19. It stated that a broadcaster could only lower the total MRPs of the pay channels in a bouquet by a maximum of 45%. The twin conditions were put in place by the regulation to link a la carte and bouquet pricing.
- The first requirement stated that the total of the a la carte rates for the pay channels that make up a bouquet must never be more than 1.5 times the rate of the bouquet of which those pay channels are a part.
- According to the second, each pay channel's a la carte charges cannot be greater than three times the average rate of a pay channel in the bouquet.
TV broadcasters have argued that despite increased content costs, they have been unable to raise their pricing for the past three years due to regulatory uncertainty.