Recently, Sun Direct which is a prominent DTH provider in Southern India introduced a new offer for its subscribers where it has removed the Network Capacity Fee (NCF) for additional channels which the subscribers choose over their base pack. In a similar move, the market leader, Tata Sky has made a move where it will not charge select channels with network fees over the basic network price. It is worth noting that Sun Direct’s new offers means that subscribers will be able to watch unlimited free to air channels (FTA channels) in just the basic price of Rs 154, if they want to add a pay channel, then they will only have to pay for the content charges of that particular channel and not the network charges. The new offer introduced by Tata Sky is also similar, except it does not apply to pay channels.
To better understand the new changes in the pricing which the DTH providers have implemented it is essential to understand the pricing structure under the new Trai regime. With the implementation of this new mandate, now the DTH providers will provide two bills to the customers, the first of these two will be a network charges bill and the second will be of content. The network charges bill will list the cost which the subscriber will pay for network capacity, i.e. the number of channels which the subscriber is watching. The lowest number of channels which the subscriber can hold is 100 SD channels or 50 HD channels, which will be available to him or her at Rs 130 exclusive of taxes. If a subscriber wants to have more channels, then he will have to pay for the network charge of that particular channel in addition to the base-pack price of Rs 130.
The second bill which the subscribers will pay would be for the content charges, and it will not be modified or controlled in any way by the DTH providers. The content charges will be the total cost of the channels relayed by the channel owners, and it will remain fixed. So if a subscriber decides to add an FTA channel in addition to the 100 base channels, he or she will have to pay the network charge fees, but in case of pay channels, the subscribers will have to pay the NCF fee along with the content charges. The DTH providers currently relay the network charges fee, and to attract subscribers, they have implemented this new scheme where the subscribers won’t be charged with NCF on select channels.
This new offer by Sun Direct means that you will be able to watch 330 channels of Sun Direct at just Rs 154, however, if not for this new change in pricing, then you would have to pay Rs 600 to watch the same number of channels in just network charges. Tata Sky’s new implementation is quite different, where it will be making only select channels as NCF-free, while approximately two-thirds of its channels will come with the network charges, which the subscriber will have to pay. But, Sun Direct has realised that the number of subscribers who have more than 100 channels, is very less, so the DTH provider won’t be losing out on a big opportunity to rake in revenue through additional NCF fee.