The implementation of New Tariff Order became inevitable for broadcasters and Cable operators after the recent amendment imposed by the industry regulator TRAI.
Since then, the broadcasters and Cable operators are in loggerheads to close the deal under the new pricing regime. While broadcasters are demanding a hike in subscription rates, the MSOs are not in a position to accept any hike due to various factors.
According to industry sources, none of the leading MSOs were able to reach an agreement with any of the leading broadcasters. Top MSOs like GTPL, Hathway, DEN, Siti cable, TCCL, SCV, and KCCL are yet to arrive at a consensus with the new tariff demanded by the broadcasters under NTO 3.0.
Sources also revealed that MSOs feel that the price hike demanded by broadcasters is unreasonable while broadcasters are under pressure to increase their tariff due to increasing content cost, and they haven’t increased the rates in the past three years while the cost of operations in the post-pandemic world has skyrocketed.
A cable operator associated with KCCL revealed that Star India has increased its packed rate from Rs 39 to Rs 54 which is not accepted by KCCL. A similar situation persists with other operators as well, revealed the operator on the condition of anonymity.
The MSO pack designed by the operators in consideration of the popular demand from the respective markets plays an important role in determining the reach of a TV Channel and its subscription revenue. Broadcasters prefer such packs and offer discounts to MSOs to ensure better reach and revenue. However, MSOs were unable to constitute such packs under NTO 3.0 due to the steep hike demanded by the broadcasters. Many MSOs are considering an a la carte route to let the consumers decide on their demand.
The decision to go a la carte mode may significantly impact the upcoming season of IPL on TV as the MSO are planning to encourage subscribers to watch IPL in Jio Cinema as many of them are having hybrid boxes in urban, Tier 2, and Tier 3 towns.
Many MSOs started running a scroll on Star Sports channel, informing the subscribers that the broadcaster had increased the tariff exorbitantly under the new tariff regime, and they may switch off the feed (Star Sports) at any moment owing to the lack of agreement with the operators.
Industry sources also revealed that the fate of agreement between the broadcasters and MSOs will be decided by the outcome of NTO 3.0 case, pending before the Kerala HC.