India's new broadcast rules are choking smaller TV channels – and networks even bigger

  • According to a CLSA report, top broadcasters have gained viewership and will continue to do so.
  • ZEE’s viewership share is up to 25%.
  • Regional language broadcasters like Sun TV have been adversely affected by the new tariff order.
Ever since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India brought out its new tariff regime, the Indian television industry has been reeling under its after effects.

And now, it seems smaller television channels are the ones who have been worst affected.

According to a report by CLSA, Zee’s viewership share is up to 25%, while Star continues to maintain its number 1 position. The report also says BARC viewership data for May 2019 shows top broadcasters continue to gain viewership share from smaller players after disruption in March due to transition to TRAI’s new pay regime of pay-per-channel.

As the chaos and confusion simmers down and subscribers settle down with their final choices, the viewership gain will fall on the kitty of top broadcasters. Since March, top broadcasters have gained 5ppt viewership share to 83%, though current share is still below 91-92% levels pre-March.

Meanwhile, regional language broadcasters like Sun TV have been adversely affected by the New Tariff Order (NTO). SUN TV Network in May had reported a fall in its profits owing to the NTO.

However, this trend was predicted by experts.


“Good channels which have a strong brand love and strong content, and for which we were already getting a good advertiser pull, for those channels now, you will also get a subscriber pull. Undoubtedly, then the channels that do not deliver on the basic promise of good content will automatically cease to exist,” said Pratyusha Agarwal, CMO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited had told Business Insider in January.

In May, there were also reports that TRAI is working on a consultation paper to reduce bills, again. The decision came in as even months after the new tariff regime complaints from consumers kept cropping up about having to pay higher bills.

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