The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has written to broadcast regulator TRAI exhorting it to include the points on bouquet formation of TV channels, raised by MSOs, to be included in an ongoing consultation process.
The MSOs, through their industry body All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), had petitioned the MIB earlier this month after several rounds of meetings, stating that the body seeks urgent intervention for “introducing crucial reforms related to right of bouquet formation” by the MSOs for orderly growth of cable TV industry and promotion of consumer interests.
The AIDCF had alleged in the letter to MIB that “despite raising & highlighting the subject issue multiple times and at multiple forums, TRAI has not included this critical issue” in the consultation paper on ‘Review of Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services’ released on August 8, 2023.
The MIB communication to the regulator, earlier this month, hence, stated: “As TRAI is doing a consultation for the industry through its consultation paper on ‘Review of Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Service’ dated 08.08.2023, therefore, request of AIDCF may be favourably considered for inclusion in the aforesaid consultation currently being undertaken.”
The letter further added: “AIDCF in its representation has demonstrated that reinstating the autonomy of DPOs to form their own bouquets may reduce the prevailing subscriber charges to the extent of 21%, thereby benefiting both the consumers and the sector at large. This issue may require consideration by the TRAI. ”
The AIDCF had submitted to the government that the regulator may be directed to undertake “a holistic consultation encompassing all the issues” and to “initiate a supplementary consultation paper, in addition to the current consultation paper” that ought to include the issue of “restoring DPOs’ right to form their own bouquets by breaking broadcasters bouquet”.
The organisation also urged that TRAI may be directed to issue joint recommendations on the main consultation and supplementary papers.