Register here for a free copy of SATELLITE & CABLE TV Magazine, SMS & email Update

March 2019


The New Tariff Order (NTO) has ushered in completely new pay channel prices for Cable TV & DTH, which is currently excessively regulated.

However, OTT platforms remain unregulated.

A quick (but limited to 17 Pay Channels) comparison shows Pay Channel broadcasters are significantly undercutting the NTO prices on various OTT platforms!

Exaggerated a-la-carte prices to CATV & DTH further skew the picture. Let's take a closer view.


There are 17 pay TV channels (Star Sports, Star World, HBO, Star Plus, Zee TV, Zee Cinema, &flix, &pictures, Sony Set, SAB, SET Max, Pix, etc.) currently available on OTT apps like Hotstar, Sony LIV and Zee5.

A consumer can opt for all the premium content option in Hotstar, Sony LIV and Zee5, at an annual cost of ` 999, ` 499 & ` 999, respectively. So in effect, a consumer will pay a total of ` 2,497 per year and will be able to watch all the content on these 17 channels.


A simple calculation on TRAI's channel selection website, where one chooses the same 17 channels in SD format that are offered by Hotstar, Zee5 & Sony LIV shows that the price for these comes to ` 235 per month. Adding the NCF of ` 1.53 (including GST) per channel adds ` 26 per month. This yields a monthly cost of ` 261 or ` 3132 per year. This is 25% higher than the annual OTT price! Further OTT will also deliver a huge amount of Video On Demand content.


Of course, OTT users will also consume bandwidth. However, most DAS 1 & 2 homes already pay for and receive internet bandwidth of 1 to 1.5 GB per day, which would generally also accommodate the additional video streaming.

Clearly, broadcasters are offering their channels via OTT, at prices well below those offered to DTH & cable TV platforms.

In a fiercely competitive and over-regulated environment, TRAI needs to step in to bring about parity. n