Out of all the effects of the new Trai tariff regime, the shift in viewership of the channels was what delivered the most blow to select broadcasters. Interestingly, the new regulatory framework introduced by the sector regulator has caused some of the smaller broadcasters and channels to lose viewership. In contrast, it has helped some of the bigger channels. Some of the big names in the industry, like Star and Zee, have witnessed a surge in their viewership according to a CLSA report. For example, Zee witnessed a 25% increase in viewership. However, that has not been the case with smaller channels, which have now witnessed a decline in viewership thus affecting their revenue as well.
New Trai Tariff Regime Beneficial for Big Broadcasters
This report by CLSA also states that BARC viewership data for May 2019 shows top broadcasters continue to gain viewership share from smaller players after disruption in March due to transition to Trai’s new regulatory framework. As the effects of the new Trai tariff regime unfold, we can see the viewership numbers tilt more towards the bigger broadcasters as they seem to be the one benefitting the most from the new changes. Since the implementation of the new rules in March, top broadcasters have gained 5ppt viewership share to 83%, though the current share is still below 91-92% levels pre-March.
On the flip side, the adverse effects of the new tariff regime are being witnessed by the regional language broadcasters like Sun TV. Sun TV Network in May had reported declining profits due to the implementation of the new norms by Trai. However, the experts had seen it coming before the implementation.
Trai to Find Ways to Reduce Monthly TV Bills
Pratyusha Agarwal, CMO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited had remarked back in January about the change in viewership, “Good channels which have a strong brand love and strong content, and for which we were already getting a good advertiser pull, for those channels now, you will also get a subscriber pull. Undoubtedly, then the channels that do not deliver on the basic promise of good content will automatically cease to exist.”
Now after witnessing the rise in tariff costs, finally Trai has come around and accepted the fact that the subscribers might be paying more than what was previously expected before the implementation of the new regime. The industry regulator was firstly adamant to admit it but now seems have changed sides. According to sources aware of the matter, Trai is also working on a consultation paper which will float in the coming months to decide how it can bring down the increased tariff costs. The consultation paper will invite comments from industry stakeholders and experts about the methods which can be adapted to bring down the increased monthly subscription bills of the DTH and cable TV subscribers, post the new tariff regime.