IBF not pleased with new NTO issued by TRAI

06 Jan,2020

By A Correspondent


The broadcast sector has expressed its dismay with the latest notification from TRAI issued on January 1, 2020, amending the new tariff order (NTO) and interconnection regulations. As per the new amendments, TRAI has reduced the cap on the MRP of individual channels, which can form part of any bouquet, to Rs 12 per month, from the earlier cap of Rs 19. The regulator has also sought to impose twin conditions for bouquet formation, effectively introducing a cap on bouquet pricing which was left untouched in the NTO.


Notes a communique: “Coming barely a few months after TRAI notified the NTO effecting a disruptive change of the distribution ecosystem, these amendments will severely impair broadcasters’ ability to compete with other unregulated platforms and adversely affect the viability of the pay TV industry.


“In the last 15 years of regulating the broadcast sector TRAI has issued more than 36 tariff orders and ancillary regulations in an attempt to micro manage what is arguably the cheapest form of news and entertainment in the world. This goes contrary to the Government’s stated position of ensuring the ease of doing business. Also, this change will only benefit the DPO’s as they have been allowed to charge as much as ₹160 for the channels that are supposed to be free.”


Expressing its disappointment on the development, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body of broadcasters in the country, has conveyed that these changes will have very significant and industry growth hampering ramifications for the broadcast sector. At a time when the economic environment is tough, this tariff order will force a lot of channels to shut down and will lead to unemployment in the sector. While the government is looking at ramping up growth, these changes will have the opposite effect for the Broadcast sector just recovering from the twin shocks of NTO in the first half of 2019 and the ad slowdown business.



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