Over the last few years, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been on a crusade. This crusade was meant to shield the TV-watching consumer from the cloak and dagger tactics of the broadcast and cable services industry.
The problem, as the regulator saw it, was simple—broadcasters and distribution operators transmit hundreds of television channels to subscribers. Despite viewers only watching a few select channels—say, sport or news—they have little choice but to subscribe to and, therefore, pay for the entire gamut.
So, since 2016, Trai has formulated one policy paper after another, all aimed at addressing the woes of subscribers.
Trai’s broadcast revolution will not be televised
Trai wanted to protect TV viewers from high DTH and cable TV bills. What it did instead was empower big broadcasters and OTT players
Trai’s new tariff regime for the cable and broadcasting sector has proven disastrous
Broadcasters and distributors have gamed the system, offering heavily discounted channel packs that detract from Trai’s aim of promoting a la carte channel purchases
One operator made 4,000 packs, even though the number of channels is approximately 900
And even as the subscriber has suffered, so have smaller players—both broadcaster and distributor. The big winners, meanwhile, are Jio and Airtel