The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday directed the broadcasters to publish the maximum retail prices per month of its channels by August 26, 2020. The authority in its directions said that the broadcasters should publish the new prices reflecting the second amendments issued by Trai to the New Tariff Order (NTO). The second amendment to the NTO dubbed as NTO 2.0 was introduced by Trai in early January. Under the Trai NTO 2.0, the broadcasters are required to revise the prices of its channels as Trai capped the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the channels available on a-la-carte basis to Rs 12. Further, Trai has also provided directions on the bouquet formation and its pricing under the NTO 2.0.
Trai Sets Deadline of August 26 for Broadcasters to Comply with NTO 2.0
However, the broadcasters took the issue to the Bombay High Court where the matter is currently being heard with the reports indicating that the final verdict would be delivered on August 24, 2020.
Despite the ongoing battle between the broadcasters and the regulatory body, Trai on July 24, 2020 had directed the broadcasters to publish the pricing under NTO 2.0 by August 10, 2020. The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) along with the broadcasters filed a Writ Petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the directive issued by Trai on July 24. A division bench of the High Court of Bombay passed an order on August 7, 2020 where it again listed the case before the division bench on August 12, 2020.
Trai in its direction on Tuesday highlighted that it had “assured” the High Court during the hearing on August 12 that the authority would extend the date set in its initial directive in July.
“During the course of proceedings before the Hon'ble Court, the Authority assured the Hon'ble Court that date of 10.08.2020, as prescribed in the direction dated 24.07.2020, would be extended to 26.08.2020,” Trai said on Tuesday.
Zee Entertainment Unsure About Implementation of NTO 2.0
Punit Goenka, CEO of Zee Entertainment, earlier said in the fourth quarter earnings call on July 25, 2020, that the NTO 2.0 might not be implemented in the current year.
“One, the matter is sub judice, so I do not understand on what basis Trai has asked us to declare our new pricing by 10th of August,” Goenka said. “Assuming that is still enforced, my second question is what is the dates for implementation for consumer? For that TRAI is silent completely, because at the end of the day my pricing is relevant only if the consumer date is finalised.”