India’s broadcasting regulator wants to help viewers pick TV channels to watch

The TRAI deadline for selection of channels a viewer wishes to pay for was March 31.pixabay.com
  • The new deadline to select channels that consumers wish to view and pay for was set at March 31.
  • However, consumers who have still not decided their plan will be given a ‘Best Fit Plan’ from TRAI.
  • The Best Fit Plan will be chosen according to the usage pattern and language spoken by the viewer, while also ensuring the plan doesn’t exceed the consumer’s current pricing plan.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had set March 31 as the deadline for consumers to select the channels they wish to pay for. However, the transition to the new pay-per-use regime has been filled with confusion, and undecided customers will be automatically given Best Fit Plans from TRAI.

According to a press release from TRAI, The 'Best Fit Plan' shall be designed based on Consumers' usage pattern and language spoken. TRAI has also directed distribution platform operators to ensure that the pricing of the Best Fit Plan does not exceed the current pricing of the consumer.

According to CLSA, a capital markets and investment group, television subscription revenues in the interim could be muted till subscriber choice settles down and could also impact broadcasters’ advertising revenues.

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The previous deadline of February 1 had to be pushed because of complete chaos and confusion which also resulted in a blackout in television and an online protest from consumers as they were paying more than before.

But now it seems that even with the extended deadline, DTH and cable operators will have to make way for a longer time of settling in, where customers would most likely revise their plans till they find their comfortable pricing for select channels.

Furthermore the report said that while broadcasters are offering 43-48% discounts through their HD bouquets, after including distribution fee and GST, consumers will still have to pay over ₹600 per month to subscribe to channels of top-4 broadcasters.

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And once again, OTT platforms will be the winners from this tussle. While a recent survey done by YouGov had already said that the new TRAI regime will push consumers to view more content from OTT platforms, the pricing too now comes up to as much or more a consumer would pay for the subscription of an OTT platform.

See Also:
Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon may cheer as watching TV in India may get costlier
TV sets blackout in India as new rules kick in – and the regulator fuming
India’s new cable TV pricing will force broadcasters to put on better shows
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