Trai Regime Will Show Positive Effects in the Industry Soon: RS Sharma

The Trai tariff regime went into effect on December 29, 2018, and since then it has been surrounded by support from DTH operators and MSOs and has been resented by the consumers and LCOs

Highlights
  • Trai chairman has said that the regulations' effects would be visible in a few months
  • The new Trai tariff regime will also likely attract foreign investors and big investments

The new tariff regime implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has garnered mixed views from the public. While the subscribers and the local cable operators (LCOs) have been against this implementation, the DTH operators and the MSOs have benefitted from these regulations. With Trai’s intervention, the industry has finally been able to establish a new pricing structure for channels through which the subscribers can choose the channels that they want to watch and then only pay for them. This has also brought transparency into the industry which was previously clouded with a lot of mystery about how the channels were priced. In a new interview with afaqs, Trai chairman RS Sharma has revealed some of the nuances about the new Trai tariff regime.

trai-tariff-regime-chairman
Credits: Rajya Sabha TV

New Trai Regime to Encourage Broadcasters

On being asked about which stakeholders would be the ones to benefits from the new Trai tariff regime, the chairman replied by saying that the new regulations were kept in place keeping everyone in mind, thus they would benefit everyone including the Pay and Free to Air (FTA) broadcasters, MSOs, DTH operators etc. He also added that in the previous pricing method, the subscribers did not know the actual pricing of the channels and the practices were discriminatory. However, with the new regulations, this has been made fair as now the consumers can choose the channel of their choice, and this choice has to be provided in a time-bound manner. Sharma added that this is bound to encourage the broadcasters.

Trai Suggests Way of Decreasing Bill for Subscribers  

On the topic of increased prices for subscribers, Sharma said that previously almost all subscribers had an unnecessary number of channels on their subscription and the subscribers paid for them. However, with the new rules that is not the case as it has been drafted keeping in mind that the consumers would choose and only pay for the channels that they watch. He also noted that as per BARC report, 90% of the subscribers flip less than 50 channels, so if the channel selection is done with proper thought then the consumers would actually be able to save on their monthly subscription.

New Trai Regime to Also Attract Foreign Investors to the Industry

He further added that the new tariff regime would also attract foreign investors and large investments as previously there were discriminatory practices and non-transparent transactions which would be hindered such opportunities. Now with transparent practices, the industry is likely to be a more attractive avenue for big foreign investors.

On the issue of BARC, Trai chairman remarked that it was wrong of the data agency to stop publishing data following the days of implementation of the new tariff regime since a change in viewership was obvious. He said that these changes signify market dynamics and would have been a true reflection of the situation. He added that in the coming days, Trai is also going to take appropriate action where necessary when it comes to OTT apps. Lastly, the Trai chairman also said that given the number of stakeholders involved, the implementation of the Trai tariff framework was a hard task, but now that it is in action, the market forces are at play, and the effects of the new rules will be visible shortly.

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Dipjyoti Roydragonmonkbharat khannaVishal | Chennai Recent comment authors
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Dipjyoti Roy
Dipjyoti Roy

Earlier we use to get compilation of pay channels and FTA actually for free. Now we pay for everything. Cable use to cost Rs. 250 including all major channels. Now we have to pay for Rs. 550 for only HD channels. Even broadcasters are suffering because of the new regime. Niche channels are shutting down. And sporting rights aren’t getting picked.

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Guwahati
Operator
Airtel
dragonmonk
dragonmonk

Positive effects, when? Maybe by 2024!
TRAI botched this DTH thing. It definitely decreased the power of DTH providers, in comparison to channel owners.

But when it comes to customers, they allowed the charges for DTH providers to be too high. A lower cap on per channel price would also have helped. They also should have strictly implemented the channel selection (not allowing the DTH providers to add ‘free channels’ that subscribers never asked for. These are being added by taking payments from these channels).

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