The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) announced on Saturday that it will offer four pay TV channels free for next two months and that it will support the government’s fight against COVID-19 outbreak. The announcement from IBF comes in the midst of the country being placed under 21 day lockdown due to COVID-19 with broadcasting networks facing uncertainty owing to potential impact on advertising revenues. Despite the bleak situation surrounding the sector, IBF said that it will stand firmly with the government of India and its fight against COVID-19 outbreak.
IBF said that four TV channels including Sony run Sony Pal, Star India’s Star Utsav, Zee TV’s Zee Anmol and Viacom18’s bouquet channel Colors Rishtey will be offered for free. It was said that the channels would be available for free for the next two months.
“As there is a state of lockdown in the country and the Government has urged the people to maintain ‘social distancing’ and stay at home, four major broadcasting networks have come forward and decided to waive off all tariffs and charges for four channels for a period of two months,” IBF said in a statement.
Crucially, IBF said that the four channels will be available for free to all consumers including those on cable networks and DTH platforms.
“The broadcasting fraternity feels that this will provide people who are restricted to their homes, wholesome entertainment and invigorating content and will help provide relief during the period of lockdown,” IBF said.
It has to be noted that Sony Pal, Star Utsav and Colors Rishtey are expensive of the four channels and are priced at Re 1, according to the data from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
While Colors, Star India and Sony offer high definition (HD) channels which are priced higher as compared to standard definition (SD) channels, the top priced SD channel in Colors is the Colors TV priced at Rs 19. Similarly, Star Plus and Sony Entertainment TV are the highest priced channels in the SD bouquet of Star India group and the Sony stable and are priced at Rs 19.
Colors Rishtey and Star Utsav are the lowest priced SD TV channels in the respective stables.
Similarly, Zee Anmol is among the lowest priced channels in the Zee stable with its monthly charge being Rs 0.10.