Starting January 1st, Indian TV consumers’ need to pay ₹130 + GST for viewing first set of 100 free-to-air (FTA) channels. If you want to popular channels from top broadcasters then get ret ready to pay extra.
The same strategy would be applied to both DTH and Cable TV operators. As per the directions of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the broadcasters should provide choice to the consumers and should work in a complete transparent framework. TRAI says the new tariff will make cable TV plans cheaper.
Consumer Choice of Channels:
This is to be noted that even the apex court supported the tariff plan of TRAI. With this, the consumers will only pay for the channels they want.
Till now, the consumers used to pay a lump sum amount for the broadcasted channels. This practice continued even after Analog to Digital signal conversion and set up of set-top units. Undoubtedly, there was an improvement in audio and video quality.
No More A Bundled Package:
Still, the cable TV operators in towns and cities collected ₹200-400 for providing 250-400 channels. This included Free-to-Air news channels, popular genres like entertainment, movies, sports, and regional channels such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu etc.
Based on the local and regional taste, the Cable TV operators telecast a good number of channels. Generally, the Indian viewers are habituated to pay after viewing not before.
However, the DTH operators are telecasting digital signals and they charge based on language, niche (sports, entertainment, movies, English movies etc). Some have different bouquets whereas other adopt a-la-carte by collecting amount in a prepaid manner. Some DTH operators even have 3-months, 6-months and yearly packages giving a better deal to the customers.
Shell Out a Big Buck:
As per the new tariff, the Cable TV operators need to adopt prepaid payments. It has to charge ₹130 + GST for providing 100 Free-to-Air channels. So, if the consumer wants to subscribe other popular network channels (Star India, Zee Entertainment, Sony Pictures Networks, IndiaCast, Disney, NDTV, Discovery Networks, etc), he has to shell out extra amount. It may be ₹184 for 95 pay channels. Above all, the network capacity fee of ₹100 (₹25 per 20 channels) will be an extra.
This would add up, finally paying a high amount of ₹430-440 a month for the Hindi basic package without any sports and HD movies. If you add sports and movie stuff, then get ready to pay ₹575-600 per month.
Fortunately, one can even opt a-al-carte. However, the monthly bill will go over ₹800-1000 as the network channels provide a huge discount of 35-55% as a bouquet.
This is to be noted that if a channel wants to be included in a package then it’s MRP is capped at ₹19. That’s the reason, most of the popular pay channels are priced between ₹15 – 19. So, a consumer opting 50 popular channels may end up paying ₹400.
What’s Your Opinion?
Interesting, a research pointed out that an average consumer views only 14 channels even if the DTH/Cable TV operators broadcast hundreds of channels. Why not the whole family sit together and decide the channels? This exercise will definitely cut down the unnecessary expenditure.
With less than 10 days in hand, the Cable TV consumers are still unaware of the major change after digitalization. Though the message is being scrolled, nobody knows what will happen on January 1st. Ironically, TRAI’s new decision, in the name of standardization of Cable TV & DTH, will only favor broadcasters the not general public.
Will the TRAI’s new appeal consumers choice of channels work or a complete blackout?