The top 10 TV channels in India are more expensive now – thanks to TRAI

TRAI's new cable TV pricing came into effect on February 1Pixabay.com
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  • Consumers are complaining about missing channels and higher prices than before.
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has refuted the claims of higher prices.
  • Viewers also complained of a television blackout because of confusion from the new pricing model.
On February 1, the new pricing model for cable television set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) came into effect. Just four days into the month with the new pricing and customers are already complaining about missing channels and increased prices.

While viewers were given the option to pick and choose to pay for the channels they want to watch, it appears to have led to much confusion among subscribers.

A rushed transition by cable TV operators to comply with the new pricing model appears to have resulted in a flurry of complaints now floating on Twitter.

Users seem frustrated about higher pricing that comes with picking channels individually instead of the earlier bouquet of channels that were offered to them. One Twitter user wrote, “Now have to pay 2x more for 1/2 half the channels and this is supposed to be consumer friendly , the prices are ridiculous...” (sic).

A CRISIL report too states that the monthly bill of viewers is going to go up for most users with the new pricing. “Our analysis of the impact of the regulations indicates a varied impact on monthly TV bills. Based on current pricing, the monthly TV bill can go up by 25% from ₹230- ₹240 to ₹300 per month for viewers who opt for the top 10 channels, but will come down for those who opt upto top 5 channels,” Sachin Gupta, Senior Director, Ratings said to various media houses.

The TRAI chairman has rubbished the reports. Speaking to IANS, Sharma said that the report was based upon an "inadequate understanding" of the TV distribution market and it was incorrect. "The report is based on choosing top-rated channels on all-India basis and considers only one weekly report dated January 25, 2019, from TV Rating Agency, BARC," a TRAI statement said.

Missing channels seem to be another gripe. Some say channels that were picked by users are not showing up on the operator’s list, adding further to the confusion. Viewers also complained of a blackout, after which TRAI sent a show-cause notice to Airtel.

"There's complete lack of clarity. Even though a broadcasting channel offers a value pack, cable TV operators still have a single channel price on their list. I spoke to my cable TV operator and even he mentioned that the confusion exists because they are also waiting for a clear picture. He too expressed his unhappiness about the new pricing," said Meera Shetty, a resident from Mumbai.

TRAI also took to Twitter to address the issues, directing TV service providers to look into genuine concerns of subscribers relating to New Broadcasting Framework immediately.

The regulatory authority had also introduced a new app – Channel Selector Application – to help users easily pick their channels. However, users are still confused about how to go about it.

See Also:
TRAI launches app to let people select and pay for only cable channels they want to watch

India’s new cable TV pricing will force broadcasters to put on better shows
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