TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has released a new tariff structure for digital cable TV. In accordance to the latest amendment, all channels to be offered on à la carte basis to subscribers. Additionally, there will be a BST (Basic Service Tier) that will consist of maximum 100 FTA (free-to-air) channels. Of the 100 channels, 18 will be by public broadcaster DD, while the remaining will belong to different genres such as current affairs, sports, music, lifestyle, movies and general entertainment in Hindi, English and regional language of the particular region.
The amendment also says that a MSO (Multi-System Operator) has to offer the BST but it is not compulsory for users to subscribe to it. Instead a subscriber can form his own package of a maximum of 100 FTA channels. In either case, the MSO cannot charge the subscriber more than Rs 100 per month.
For pay channels, the MSO can fix a minimum monthly subscription not exceeding Rs 150. If the total value of the channels opted by the subscriber exceeds Rs 150, then actual subscription charges have to be paid.
The authority has announced the amount charged by broadcaster to MSO remains unchanged. They can charge a maximum of 42 per cent of the rate they charge in the non-addressable systems.
There are key developments in the carriage fee and retail tariff. The authority has stated that every MSO may fix the carriage fee but it cannot be revised upward for a minimum of two years. It would intervene in case it is felt that the carriage fee is unreasonable.
In regards to the retail tariff, TRAI has mandated that rate of any channel cannot exceed three times the average channel rate of the package bundle.
TRAI amendment also features revenue share between the MSO and LCO (Local Cable Operator). The revenue share will be on mutual negotiation but in case the negotiation fails, the share ratio will be 55:45 (MSO: LCO) for BST or FTA channels. The revenue share for pay channels or bouquet of pay channels with or without FTA channels will be in the ratio of 65:35 (MSO: LCO).