Those worried about their subscribed TV channels getting blacked out from 29 December 2018, following WhatsApp rumours to the effect, may have a reason to cheer. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said that TV channels will continue to be on air, trashing the rumours that some channels will be blocked out with the rollout of new subscription model.
TRAI said it has asked all broadcasters and cable operators to ensure that any channel that a subscriber is watching that day is not to be discontinued on 29th of December. The authority also said that it is chalking out a new migration plan for the customers to ensure a smooth experience.
TRAI recently passed a new regulation revolutionising the way consumers pay for TV channel subscriptions. Now with the new system, viewers can select and pay only for the individual channels they choose to watch.
At present, multi service operators (MSOs) and cable operators such as Tata Sky, Dish TV, Hathway, Den Networks and others offer bouquets, which often times also include some TV channels with very low viewership. Though there is a plethora of bouquets of offer, with various combinations of included TV channels, viewers often end up eventually subscribing to some unwanted channels, while paying the price for the entire bouquet.
The broadcasters have already drafted a list of TV channels with Maximum Retail Price of each.
Broadcasters are also allowed to roll out bouquet plans which should cost a minimum of 85% cost of the individual channels combined. The TRAI order may spell doom for the lesser viewed channels as they might not get subscribed as standalone products.
This framework is expected to make the whole broadcasting experience transparent and fair. However, subscription to 26 Doordarshan channels is mandatory for television viewers. The base price is Rs 130 plus 18% GST added, over which subscribers can choose the channels of their choice. The set limit of the channel subscription is 100 channels per connection.