Reliance Jio Media favours TRAI’s suggestion of 15% discount cap on broadcasters’ bouquets

Reliance Jio Media said that smaller broadcasters were losing subscribers due to the non-level playing field created by the absence of a cap on the discounts on bouquets

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 27, 2019 7:22 PM
TRAI

TRAI had floated a consultation paper a few weeks ago titled Consultation Paper on Tariff related issues for Broadcasting and Cable services. The replies from the stakeholders have finally been provided on the said topic and while broadcasters have mostly united against all the questions being asked in the paper, Reliance Jio Media supports the move to put a discount cap on broadcasters’ bouquets.

Their reply reads, “A restoration of the discount cap of 15% on broadcaster bouquets will make bouquets at the current a-la-carte price levels very expensive. Therefore, a cap on the discount on bouquets will drive the broadcasters to rationalize both a-la-carte prices and bouquet prices. The level of discount allowed on the sum of a-la-carte prices of the channels forming part of a bouquet should be 15% as prescribed under the earlier TRAI Tariff Order 2017. However, this liberty has been misused by the broadcasters and they have formulated their bouquet prices and channels in such a way that the customers are being forced to pay much higher prices as compared to the previous tariff regime. The driver channels have been priced at near about Rs. 19/-. Bouquets have been formulated by bundling the less popular channels along with driver channels and offering the bouquets at deep discounts to the customers”

Reliance Jio Media also points out that Broadcasters have increased the prices of their most popular TV channels ("driver channels") to Rs.19/ or close to Rs.19/- for inclusion in bouquets. “The less popular channels which have low demand have been priced at nominal amounts as low as 50 paise or Re. 1/- and even FTA channels have been converted to Pay channels. These less popular channels and the driver channels have been bundled into bouquets, which are offered at deep discounts in the range of 30-70% as compared to the sum of their a-la-carte prices. Due to the vast difference between the a-la-carte prices and the bouquet price, a customer will naturally opt for a bouquet”, the statement reads.

Explaining how this has impacted the smaller broadcasters, Reliance Jio Media’s statement read, “The price-sensitive customers tend to opt for the bouquets of the larger broadcasters that carry the more popular or driver channels, by opting for bouquets the subscriber gets saddled with lots of unwanted channels which consumes their NCF limits. As a consequence, the regional and niche channels by smaller broadcasters are not opted by subscribers due to budgetary constraints. Hence, the smaller broadcasters are losing subscribers due to the non-level playing field created by the absence of a cap on the discounts on bouquets.”

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