As planned by telecom regulator TRAI, NTO 3.0 (New Tariff Order) has been implemented today, February 1, 2023. As per sources, almost 80% of DPOs have already signed up with the broadcasters agreeing to the latest NTO regime.
BestMediaInfo.com has found out from sources that Disney Star, Sony and Zee have sent a list of 775 MSOs, 700 MSOs and 715 MSOs, respectively to TRAI who have signed and implemented NTO 3.0.
Even DTH Players like Tata Play, Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV have signed agreements to implement NTO 3.0.
The other 20%, who are mostly AIDCF (All India Digital Cable Federation) members, are not in the favour of the new tariff regime and are waiting for the final order from Kerala High Court – which is to come on February 8, 2023. But even after being an AIDCF member, Siti Cable has agreed to implement NTO 3.0.
Last month, AIDCF had submitted a petition to the Kerala High Court against the implementation of NTO 3.0. But on January 6, 2023, Kerala HC refused to grant a stay on the NTO 3.0 while adjourning the matter.
According to sources, even yesterday, AIDCF tried to persuade the court to hold the implementation, but the court found no merit in their case being put forward at this stage.
AIDCF has been against the new NTO because it would increase consumer costs and eventually the cable operators will have to bear the brunt.
A cable operator, under conditions of anonymity, said, “We have already been losing customers, and this price hike by channels will further make people opt out of cable subscriptions.”
Earlier in September, TRAI had communicated to all the distributors of television channels (DPOs) to report to the Authority, Distribution Retail Price (DRP) of pay channels and bouquets of pay channels, and the composition of bouquets of pay and FTA channels, by January 1, 2023, and simultaneously publish such information on their websites.
But a few had not submitted the same even until January. Therefore, TRAI once again sent out a new communication to DPOs to comply with the order on January 19.
On the other hand, the broadcasters who have increased the tariff rates are looking forward to hikes turning into revenue this month onwards.
A broadcaster commented, “This was long overdue as content acquisition cost has only been increasing. There has been no increase in the pricing of channels in the last four years. When it comes to people opting out of cable subscriptions, an increase in channel price cannot be blamed alone.”
A leading cable operator said, “We don’t have a problem with the increase in price as we understand that the content acquisition cost has increased along with other inflationary pressure. But we have a problem with the extent of the price increase, which is massive. Even when it comes to discounts, broadcasters play around it according to their whims and fancies. Sometimes, they will give and sometimes, they will revoke it.”
Broadcasters had already submitted their RIOs in December 2022, with increased pricing between 5-15%.
As per NTO 3.0 issued in November 2022, broadcasters are allowed to increase the price of channels, which are part of the bouquet up to Rs 19 instead of Rs 12 as mandated in NTO 2.0. A broadcaster can offer a maximum discount of 45% while pricing its bouquet of pay channels over the sum of MRPs of all the pay channels in that bouquet.