Telecom Regulatory Authority's (TRAI) new tariff order on the pricing of TV channels came into effect on February 1, 2023. As a result, DTH and cable operators have expressed concerns earlier over the potential increase of approximately 30% in TV channel prices for consumers. In addition, this tariff hike could lead to a loss of subscribers for these operators, especially as the trend of cord-cutting may further accelerate with the rise of OTT channels.
Television broadcasters have increased their bouquet and popular channels' prices between 10-15% under the new amendments to the tariff order, or NTO 3.0. Broadcasters claim it's the bare minimum, as there has been no price increase over the last four years. However, the cable operators are against broadcasters on the issue of a hike in MRP of channels and bouquets in compliance with the amended new tariff order (NTO 3.0) implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Under the new amendments, or NTO 3.0, broadcasters were allowed by the sector regulator to increase the price of channels, which are part of a bouquet, to Rs 19 from Rs 12 earlier.
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As per multiple media reports, channels went off the air during the second test match between India and Australia, and viewers were unable to watch Star Sports channel on their cable TV connection provided by the non-compliant cable operators.
In a significant move, major television broadcasters, including Disney Star, Zee and Sony, have switched off signals to cable operators going off air for nearly 45 million subscribers in India. The major broadcasters have switched off their channels to the Distribution Platform Operators (DPO) who have not signed the interconnection deal as per the provisions of the amended new tariff order NTO 3.0.
"While 90% of operators, both DTH and MSOs, have signed up under NTO 3, the balance of operators have been holding back, despite our best efforts to get them on board. Broadcasters have, therefore, been left with little choice but to turn off the supply of content to these distributors. We remain hopeful of their cooperation and look forward to a scenario where content is seamlessly available to all television viewers across the country," Siddharth Jain, secretary general of IBDF (Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation), said in a statement as per a Mint Report.
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"Dear Customers, Pursuant to the new Tariff Order (NTO) issued by TRAI (the regulator) and resultant massive increase in prices by the broadcaster, this channel has been disconnected by the broadcaster. We are putting our best efforts to protect your interest against massive increase in prices and taking all possible measures, including legal challenge, to avoid any major increase in prices for you. We request your co-operation and support in this project against the unreasonable price increase," read the notices to customers on their television screens.