Scatmag.com

November 2019

PAY CHANNELS SLASH PRICES



Pay channels have been jolted by consumers' rejection of high pay channel prices declared by broadcasters under TRAI's New Tariff Order. Subscriptions have fallen significantly.

All leading Pay TV broadcasters have slashed their a-la-carte channel prices by at least 35%. Most premium a-la-carte channels that were priced at ₹ 19 (+ tax) have been re-priced to ₹ 12 (+tax).

This move pre-empts TRAI's efforts to rationalise a-la-carte channel prices, enabling consumers to exercise their choice of individual channels.


SECOND STB DISCONNECTED

Infact, post the New Tariff Order, consumers were shocked with the exorbitant increase in their TV bills via both - DTH & Cable TV. A large number of consumers have disconnected their second STB, and restricted channel packages on their primary STB. Unfortunately for consumers, a-la-carte prices were exorbitant, effectively disabling an a-la-carte option.

Talk on the street is that the regulator informally called broadcasters and asked them to rationalise their a-la-carte prices, else stern action would be taken.


A-La-Carte Pay Channel Prices Have Been Slashed By 35% to 90%, Enabling Individual Selection Of Channels







PRICES SLASHED

As an immediate consequence, most prime channels have dropped their a-la-carte prices from ₹ 19 to ₹ 12.

Even more significantly, several non-prime channel prices have been slashed by 50% to 90%. The price of Humgama TV+ has been slashed from ₹ 6 to ₹ 1. This will enable a-la-carte selection by consumers.

As a face saver, the new channel prices have been declared under the guise of "Divali / Festive Offers."

Star & Disney India Country Manager Sanjay Gupta admitted "We have made deep cuts in our prices and this is primarily meant to get back a lot of customers who were not subscribing because they found the rates very high. By cutting the prices substantially, these channels will become affordable."


"We have made deep cuts in our prices and this is primarily meant to get back a lot of customers who were not subscribing because they found the rates very high."



BOUQUETS UNCHANGED

However, Pay channel bouquet prices seem to be left unchanged.


NCF CURTAILED

The Network Capacity Fee of a maximum of ₹ 135 + tax for delivery of up to 100 channels has also pinched consumers, inflating their monthly bills.

Some DTH platforms have waived the NCF on the second STB.

The All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), a combine of 9 large MSOs have agreed to offer 150 SD channels, for the NCF of ₹ 130. This will potentially yield a ₹ 40 saving in NCF for those consumers opting for 150 Channels (FTA + Pay).



REVISED TARIFF ORDER

Reports are that TRAI's revised tariffs will be declared only in mid-November - well after the Divali festival.

All eyes are on the regulator, and how it will tweak the tariff rules to reign in Pay broadcasters. n