It has been some time that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) implemented a new regulatory framework for the television broadcast industry of India – the New Tariff Order (NTO). The NTO, popularly known as the MRP regime, mandates that customers select the channels and bouquets they want to subscribe to and for broadcasters to announce the MRP of the same. The new regulatory framework was implemented on February 1, 2019 and the extended deadline to complete the migration from the old framework to the new one is March 31, 2019.

As per TRAI, India has about 170 million television households of which around 100 million are cable subscribers while 70 million uses DTH (Direct-To-Home). On February 12, 2019 TRAI was quoted announcing that 90 million homes have already migrated to the new tariff order of which 65 million were cable TV households and 25 million were DTH subscribers.

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So, how does this implementation of new regulatory framework impact the television industry?

There are three major stakeholders in the television industry – consumers, broadcasters and distributors (Cable, DTH, Headed in the Sky (HITS), IPTV etc.)

Consumers

Earlier, consumers simply got what was served to them; now, they have to select the channels or bouquets they want to watch. Also, there was a general cable fee that each household in a particular locality had to pay every month, but with the implementation of the new tariff order, consumers will only pay for the channels they subscribe to.

As recommended in the new regulatory framework, consumers will have to pay Rs 130 each month which TRAI calls the Network Capacity Fee (NCF). This fee will give subscribers access to 100 free-to-air channels. Of the 100 FTA channels, it is compulsory to subscribe to 25 DD channels leaving the consumer to choose the other 75.

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