The Tamil Nadu Digital Cable TV Operators Association, a lobbying body for cable TV networks in the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu, has sent a legal notice to regulator TRAI urging it to direct the pay TV broadcasters to desist from increasing the TV channels’ prices as it would harm the consumers and cable distribution sector, in general.
“It is worthwhile to mention here that our clients are not doubting on your intentions but have been shocked and surprised to see the conduct and malafide of the pay channel broadcasters who have wrongly interpreted the New Tariff Order, 2020 and have substantially inflated the prices of the pay channels,” the legal notice to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.
Pointing out that TRAI’s job was to “regulate and to protect the interest of service providers and consumers”, the legal note further stated that as per new rates declared by broadcasters, the prices for consumers would get “inflated by 100 to 200 percent”.
The letter, dated Oct 18, 2021, goes on to point out that the members of the Tamil Nadu Digital Cable TV Operators Association had “supported all your (TRAI’s) actions in order to promote and create transparency in the business models” for all the service providers of India’s cable TV and broadcasting sectors, including implementation of the New Tariff Order, 2020 whose aim was to make the cable TV services “more economical for low and medium earning” class of people.
The Tamil Nadu digital cable ops group has argued it was surprising that pay TV broadcasters are increasing the subscription prices of TV channels at a time when OTT platforms were “trying to make their services more affordable to increase their subscriber base”.
Such a move by broadcasters would cause “loss to the subscriber base of the LCOs and MSOs”, especially as such an “abnormal (and) substantial rise in prices by the broadcasters only for the cable TV industry” would financially impact LCOs and MSOs.
“These excessive prices are unbearable for the people of rural areas…It is unfortunate that due to this abnormal rise in subscription (prices of TV channels) many of the poor people of the country will be unable to watch their favorite shows on television and, more specifically, young generation will be unable to grow their capabilities and knowledge through television as the earning members of their respective families will be unable to spend on these costly channels,” the legal notice to TRAI tried to make a case for the cable TV industry.