The government wants broadcasters to announce the maximum retail price of each channel before rolling out the conditional access system (CAS).
This was stated at a meeting officials held today with stakeholders, including broadcasters and cable operators, on implementation of CAS, which is a system of delivering cable television signals through a set-top box.
This would be the first of a series of steps by the government, which has been directed by the Delhi High Court to implement CAS by April 10. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday.
“The main hurdle in the way of CAS implementation was that the broadcasters were not ready to provide a la carte pricing to consumers. They wanted to offer a bouquet of channels and not price each channel individually. The government has now recognised that it needs to fix a price ceiling for each channel,” said Rakesh Dutta, general secretary, Cable Networks Operators’ Association.
The day-long programme saw officials from the ministry of information and broadcasting, headed by Secretary S K Arora, listen to views of various stakeholders over implementation of CAS in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The free-to-air channels are believed to have asked for implementation of CAS, while many of the pay channels opposed it.
The government has also recognised the need for standard agreements; first between broadcasters and multi-system operators (MSOs) and then MSOs and last mile operators.