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Broadcasters wants government to fix free-to-air channels cost at Rs 45

30-May-2002
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Broadcasters wants government to fix free-to-air channels cost at Rs 45

Broadcasters have suggested to the government that the basic tier package of free-to-air channels should cost the subscriber not more than Rs 25 to Rs 45 a month. The multi-system operators (MSOs), on the other hand, want a much higher price of Rs 150, citing the investments required to run operations.

The meeting, which was chaired by joint secretary of information and broadcasting Mr Rakesh Mohan on Tuesday, had representatives from broadcasters and cable operators to get feedback on how the conditional access system can be implemented.

According to broadcasters a higher price for basic tier would thwart the basic purpose of keeping prices for cable TV viewing more affordable. Besides the basic service, consumers would have to bear the expense of the pay channels they wanted to watch.

Star India chief executive officer Peter Mukerjea said consumers were paying for artifically high prices because of under-declaration of subscriber base by cable operators. “We have told the ministry that we would reduce the price for the Star bouquet in return for actual declaration of subscribers by cable operators,” he added.

According to analysts it is in the interests of pay-TV broadcasters to suggest a low basic tier package of free-to-air channels. A lower basic subscription rate would provide room for viewers to subscribe to a greater number of pay channels. A second meeting is expected to take place after a week.

Source: Financial Express

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