We are evaluating legal option against NTO 2.0: IBF

Senior members of the Indian Broadcasting Federation came together to address the press on the the recent amendments to the Tariff Order

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 10, 2020 5:30 PM



Upset with NTO 2.0, senior members of the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) came together on Friday morning to register their protest.

The IBF has said that is evaluating legal option against NTO 2.0. “We will first explore all our options and then decide on implementation, which is due on January 15,” said NP Singh, MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Network India and President-IBF.

Calling it an unwanted disruption that has already caused a loss running into over Rs 1,000 crore to the industry, Singh said:  “Content is King and that's what we always said and heard about. Broadcasters addressed substantial amounts of money acquiring and producing top quality content for our viewers, whether it is sports entertainment or knowledge content, the cost is very high.

“As we've seen, in the last 15 years of regulating the broadcast sector, TRAI has issued more tariff order in an attempt to micromanage the most value for any form of views and engagement in the world. This goes contrary to government status solution and maturing the ease of doing business.”

“The collective cost to the broadcaster was well over Rs 1,000 crore. It's something that we don't often talk about… These amendments attempt to make further destructive changes in the industrial city grappling with a paradigm shift to an MRP-based pricing.”

Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and Chairman of Star India and The Walt Disney Company, said: “I can’t remember when was the last time IBF came together to address the media. These amendments are seriously disruptive and we are very troubled. The long term effect of NTO 2.0 will be highly disruptive. It will affect the quality of content. In the long run, it will eventually force the smaller channels to shut down.”

Shankar further said: “In 2003 September when TRAI came into existence it was given the charge of the distribution of media and stakeholder relationship. There was nothing that was done for a long time to the extent that the Supreme Court had to intervene and say that a comprehensive carriage exercise had to wait and that is when the authority woke up towards the need for tariff.

“We've spent literally a thousand crores in educating the consumers and educating the ecosystem about the new tariff structure even before it has settled down. I think despite some of its shortcomings, it was taken off the ground pretty well. Over a crore and a half people had opted for the a la carte channels, so it was moving in the right direction and then suddenly the whole thing has to be reset to zero,"

Calling it a "trigger-happy regulatory intervention", Shankar said such moves are never good for the industry. "The regulator seems to not care that part of its job is to create an enabling framework for the industry to grow and all stakeholders to benefit, and for the consumers to get the best kind and best range of content that they deserve.”

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd and Vice President - IBF, said: “We have lost around 20 million TV homes and reach of channels has dropped with #NTO already. New amendments will further accentuate the problem.

"The regulator's job is to facilitate, enable, give a fair playground for everybody, and make sure that everybody adheres to the rules. It has to encourage the growth of the Industry. I'm afraid that whatever action we are going to see that is described by the regulator has not facilitated it. This is an important industry which the government should encourage and not just suppress it the way it has," observed Aroon Purie, founder of the India Today Group.

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