India’s content distribution platforms have been given an extra month to implement the industry’s new tariff regime, intended to offer both customers and broadcasters greater transparency.
The new tariff order, which was due to be introduced at the end of December 2018, has been extended to 1 February 2019, to allow the distribution platform operators (DPOs) one month to migrate their customers to the new regime.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said the DPOs would now have to collect the details of all TV channels their subscribers wish to subscribe to by the end of January. For the interim period, existing interconnect agreements would continue.
TRAI stated “all the distributors of television channels shall continue to offer the said packs, plans or bouquets to all the subscribers till 31st January 2019”.
The new tariff regime will allow Indian consumers to pick the particular channels they wish to subscribe to on an a-la-carte basis from their direct-to-home (DTH), cable, HITS or IPTV platform operators.
The extension in its implementation comes after two meetings in December between TRAI and the CEOs of major service providers in the broadcasting and cable TV industry. Although most of the stakeholders seem ready to adopt the new regulatory framework, it reportedly emerged that progress to collect the new channel choices of subscribers was slow.
The new regulations also require broadcasters to list new channel carriage fee prices on their website before implementation.
The nationwide digitisation of India’s vast cable network has enabled the reference interconnect offer (RIO) to be introduced for content distribution. Under RIO, the pay-TV operator pays the broadcast network only for those subscribers who have chosen the broadcaster’s channels.