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MIB forwards ALCOA India's complaint against NTO 2.0 to TRAI

ALCOA has stated that NTO 1.0 has already caused a lot of loss to the cable industry and the implementation of NTO 2.0 will worsen the situation

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Jan 7, 2022 9:19 AM  | 4 min read
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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has forwarded the All Local Cable Operators Association of India's (ALCOA India) complaint dated 28th December against the New Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0 to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

"I am directed to enclose herewith a copy of a representation dated 28.12.2021 from All Local Cable Operator Association Delhi regarding implementation of the New Tariff Order 2.0. Since, the issue relates to TRAI, the same is forwarded herewith for appropriate necessary action," MIB Section Officer (DAS) Bijay Pal Sharma said in a note to the TRAI Secretary V Raghunandan. 

In its letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ALCOA India had contended that the NTO 2.0 will create mass-scale unemployment in the cable TV industry. It had also stated that the implementation of the NTO 2.0 will break the back of local cable operators (LCOs) and multi-system operators (MSOs). 

Calling it a black law, ALCOA India had urged the PM to stop the implementation of NTO 2.0. "Sir it is our humble request to you on behalf of all the Local Cable Operators, MSOs and their staff, to take action on this and stop this KAALA KANOON (Black Law) from being implemented." 

ALCOA stated that the NTO 1.0 has already caused a lot of loss to the cable industry and the implementation of NTO 2.0 will worsen the situation. "And also the sword of unemployment and starvation will hang over several lakhs of people, due to which the cable TV operators all over the country will go out of business. Cable Operators who have made this industry with their blood and sweat, are today in a state of confusion about their existence in the industry as the first tariff order of TRAI has affected the consumers very badly. lt was totally not in the favour of the consumers & Local Cable operators of India."

The letter also stated that the NTO regime has ended up benefiting only the broadcasters who have dual revenue streams. "It seems that TRAI is forcibly imposing tariff orders on the cable industry only to reduce the rights of the consumers and increase the revenue of the broadcaster."

Broadcasters have increased the price MRP of popular channels like Star Plus, Zee TV, Sony TV, and Colors while keeping them out of bouquet as a mark of protest against the TRAI's NTO 2.0 which caps MRP of channels in a bouquet at Rs 12 besides imposing several other restrictions on bundling and packaging. 

Meanwhile, ALCOA India has written a letter to TRAI Chairman PD Vaghela to stop the implementation of NTO 2.0. The letter states that the LCOs and MSOs were in a better condition before the implementation of the NTO regime in February 2019. The ALCOA also said that the price of popular GECs before the NTO was between Rs 7 to 9. Under NTO 1.0, the price of these channels jumped to Rs 19, which was the ceiling for inclusion in bouquets.

"Foreign and Indian pay broadcasters have looted crores of consumers of the country. Before the implementation of the NTO, the price of Star Plus was Rs 7.87, Zee TV was Rs 5.83, Sony TV was 8.90 and Colors was Rs 8.90. This became Rs 19 after February 2019 which is a 250% increase," the letter states. 

The ALCOA further stated that the pay broadcasters have further hiked their tariff by 25% for NTO 2.0. According to the association, the price hike has put the LCOs in a difficult situation. It further stated that the LCOs only 10% commission from the subscription revenue collected by them from the consumers.

"Consumers are also very angry with this increase, and they are also opposing it and asking cable operator to remove the connection. If the order is implemented from 1st April then many lakh people across the country will be at risk of becoming unemployed and the cable TV industry will also reach the verge of extinction," the letter states.

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