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May 2018

LANDING PAGE REGULATION WITHDRAWN


TRAI Has Promised An Open & Transparent Consultation Before Finalising This Policy & Regulation.


On 18 April, the TRAI submitted to the TDSAT that its November 2017 order pertaining to landing page (STB boot up page) will be withdrawn within 2 weeks and the issue discussed with the stakeholders before any further move on the matter.


BACKGROUND

On 8 November, 2017 the TRAI issued a directive - No broadcaster or distributor of TV channels can place any registered satellite TV channel, whose TV rating is released by the registered TV rating agency (BARC), on the landing LCN or Landing Channel or boot up screen.


LANDING CHANNEL

The landing channel or the landing page refers to the Logical Channel Number (LCN) which is automatically displayed when the Set Top Box is switched on.


The Landing Page Is Similar To The Cover Page Of A Newspaper, Which Is Allowed To Carry Ads.


The 'landing page' is often used by the MSO / DTH platform to provide information of its services.

However, since this page is 'force viewed' by consumers, it is often sold for a placement fee, to TV channels, to increase their TRPs as consumers are first reminded to view that channel.

The Landing Page is similar to the Cover page of a Newspaper, which is allowed to carry ads.







OBJECTED BY DPOS & CHANNELS

The new TRAI directive would lead to a substantial revenue loss to DTH platforms & MSOs, as well as a prime promotional opportunity for TV channels.

The direction was challenged by Bennet Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), All India Digital Cable Federation, DEN Networks, Fastway Transmission and Satellite Channels before the TDSAT.

The petitioners challenged the TRAI order on 2 grounds:

1. TRAI did not have the jurisdiction to issue a direction.

2. TRAI did not invite a consultation & follow the principle of transparency while issuing the direction.


TRAI Held No Consultation Before The Order


TDSAT STAYS ORDER

Soon after the first hearing, the TDSAT stayed the implementation of the TRAI order, until a verdict was declared by the tribunal.


MIB DIKTAT TO BARC

Since the TRAI order was stayed by the tribunal, the I&B ministry, in the first week of April 2018 ordered the audience measurement organisation BARC India to desist from using landing page data of any channel for its overall audience data.


TDSAT TO CONTINUE HEARINGS

The TDSAT noted that once the regulator withdrew its order, all the petitions would be treated as infructuous. Till then, the tribunal interim order staying the TRAI directive remains in force.

The next date of hearing is 7 May 2018.


NEW CONSULTATION

TRAI has already issued a consultation on the matter. Stakeholders can provide written comments on the consultation paper 20 April and counter-comments by 27 April.

Issues listed for consultation are:

1. Do you feel that emerging concept of placing TV channel on landing page can influence TRP ratings? Suggest the action which may address the issue with justification.

2. Should the concept of landing page be defined? If so, please suggest the definition of the landing page with justification.

3. Will defining Framework for placing TV channels on landing page affect the present business model of distributors? If so, will it be considered impacting the freedom to do business by distributors of TV channels? Give your suggestions with justification.

4. Is landing page a natural choice of consumer while viewing TV channels? If not, why should channels, whose TV ratings are released by TV rating agency, be placed on landing page? Give your comments with justifications.

5. Whether placing of a TV channel on landing page increases television ratings? If yes, why TV Channels, whose TV ratings are released by TV rating agency, should not be barred from being placed on landing page? If no, why broadcasters are eager to place their channels on landing page? Give your suggestions with justification.

6. What should be the criteria/ consideration to put a TV channel on landing page? Give your suggestion with justification.

7. Do you think the influence, if any, in television ratings by placing of TV channels on landing page can be mitigated through changes in measurement methodology of television ratings? Give your suggestions with justifications?

8. Please comment on the feasibility to implement user's 'last visited page' as landing page in distributors' network?

9. Should the landing page be used to place TV channels not having TRP rating or only to provide platform specific information? Give suggestions with justification.

10. Any other suggestions/comments related to the issue under consideration? n