Cable operators in Tamil Nadu have decided to switch off the transmission of all the channels in the Zee-Turner bouquet, in two weeks time. The decision comes soon after the announcement from the bouquet’s TV distribution company of a tariff hike in the urban and semi-urban markets effective from January 1, 2003. The Tamil Nadu Cable Operators General Welfare Association’s (TCOA) has around 90 per cent of the cable operators across the state (about 20,000) as its members.
According to sources, Zee-Turner had announced a dual pricing strategy with an intention of growing nascent markets while seeking a revenue adjustment in the developed markets. As per the new pricing structure, the distribution company would not increase the prices in rural areas and absorb the cost of price increase by certain pay channels.
However, in smaller towns and cities where the concept of pay channels has found acceptability, it would increase the price by Rs 8 per subscriber per month. The complete bouquet of 16 channels, which was earlier costing Rs 42 per subscriber per month, will now cost Rs 50 per subscriber. The bouquet includes Zee, Zee News, Zee Cinema, Zee English, Zee MGM, Cartoon Network, CNN, Nickelodeon and a host of Alpha channels.
According to TCOA since almost all the major Tamil channels - KTV, Raj TV, Star Vijay and Jaya TV, except Sun TV - will become pay channels by early 2003, cable operators would find it very difficult to explain the constantly spiralling prices to the consumers. And as Zee-Turner bouquet doesn’t have much of viewership in the state, except for Cartoon Network and CNN, blocking it will not have any major effect.