ETV Network completes 25 years

After the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) amended the new tariff order (NTO) last month, broadcasters such as ZEEL, Sun TV, Discovery Communication India, Disney Star India, Viacom18 and Culver Max Entertainment have revised and introduced their prices. their RIOs on December 16. The new prices will take effect on February 1, 2023.

In the amended NTO, the regulator restored the Rs 19 MRP cap for inclusion of TV channels in a bundle and also allowed broadcasters to offer a maximum discount of 45% while placing it on the sum of the MRPs of all their bundled pay channels. payment channels in that range.

The decision was welcomed by broadcasters when TRAI announced the revised NTO. Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) Chairman and Disney Star Country Manager and Chairman K Madhavan praised TRAI Chairman PD Vaghela for forging a collaborative path to address issues related to NTO 2.0.

He said, “NTO 2.0 is the result of a strong collaboration between the industry and TRAI under the leadership of Dr. Vaghela. Instead of following a judicial approach to deal with settled demands, our approach of engaging in constructive dialogue has given us significant progress in creating a more conducive environment for the industry in the area of ​​pricing. We remain confident in the regulatory resistance environment that we will pass together.”

In the revised prices, the broadcasters have increased the prices by 10-15% for some bundles. For instance, Zee Family Pack Hindi SD by Zee Entertainment Enterprises LTD (ZEEL) priced at Rs 43 had 25 channels, but at the revised MRP rates the same broadcaster is offering only 15 channels. Similarly, Zee Family Pack Marathi SD offers 15 channels priced at Rs 49 offering 20 channels which were earlier priced at Rs 45.

Similarly, Culver Max Entertainment’s Happy India Marathi bouquet was priced at Rs 44 and is now priced at Rs 46, even though they offer the same number of channels. Viacom18 will discontinue more than 30 series from February 1, 2023.

According to Karan Taurani, CEO of Elara Capital, flower prices have been revised up by an average of 10% (above estimates of an 8% price increase). “This will have a positive impact of 4-5% on revenue estimates for broadcasters in FY24,” he said.

He mentioned that broadcasters have reduced ala card prices to Rs 19 for their channel cards (from Rs 12 earlier / due to uncertainty around NTO 2.0); however, this delay will not have any impact on ARPUs as the change from Rs 19 to Rs 12 was only notional in nature for the RIOs (Reference Interconnection Offers) introduced after the NTO 2.0 rules last year.

“NTO 3.0 has no material differences compared to NTO 1.0, except that the discount percentage between the same channels in the range of cards must be limited to 45%. Price increases are positive for issuers and can result in improvements of 3-5% due to price increases if there is no tendency to cut/shave the cable.

However, distribution platform operators (DPOs) have expressed concerns about this. According to several cable operators, NTO 3.0 will move consumers away from pay TV and towards DD FreeDish and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

“If NTO 3.0 is implemented, approximately two million digital cable TV and DTH customers may migrate to unregulated OTT and FreeDish platforms,” ​​said a director of a Cable TV company.

Speaking at the CII Big Picture Summit last month, the TRAI chairman indicated that the regulator is open to reducing tariffs if players in the broadcast value chain work in a cohesive manner. TRAI has not fixed price caps for channels offered individually or out of bundles.

In the amended policy, TRAI has stated that the discount offered by a broadcaster as an incentive will be based on the combined subscription of that channel based on the MRP of a pay channel in both the card and bundles. The distribution fee and discount offered by the broadcaster to the DPO remains at 35% of the MRP of a channel or bundle on the card.

A senior official of a major cable TV company earlier told exchange4media that this clause will increase the regulatory burden on DPOs. He added that TRAI should now look into DPO requirements such as removal of network capacity fee (NCF) cap, parity in offering discounts to customers at retail level and application of 60% NCF discount to broadcasters on pay channel prices for Multi TV connections. , among other things.

As reported by e4m earlier, TRAI is expected to issue another consultation paper to address the concerns of DPOs and local cable operators (LCOs).

“Cable operators are concerned that this will affect their subscriber base and end customers, but I think it will be minimal. The price gap between OTT and TV is still very large, so an 8-10% price increase will not affect TV. , according to an industry analyst. He mentioned that consumer bills will also increase by 8-10%.

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