DTH channel packs to cost more from 29 Dec under Trai plan
18 December 2018
By 29 December, which is the deadline for introduction of the Trai-mandated new cable and DTH plans for TV channels, which is supposed to simplify life for cable and DTH operators and their customers, will actually cost viewers more as the price of most premium packs will go up.
The Trai order is aimed at barring broadcasters like Star India, Zee and Sun TV from forcing DTH and cable companies to carry unwanted channels and free up space for newer and more interesting channels.
With the 29 December deadline for the introduction of new cable and DTH plans fast approaching, a recent order by the Madras High Court and prices announced by broadcasters is likely to raise prices for cable and DTH services in the country.
Operators are currently finalising their strategy to deal with the regulatory change as smoothly as possible. Reports said operators are planning three different packs, including `Basic Tier’, a Premium Plan and a Premium HD offering.
Basic Tier: This will include free-to-air and cheaper (free & cheap) channels, which will be priced at around Rs150-200 by most cable players.
This ‘basic pack’ will consist of ‘free’ channels like B4U, Dabang and PTC, supplemented by the ‘1-rupee-channels’ from big broadcasters like Star, Zee and Sony.
This may also include other 1 rupee channels’ like Zee Anmol, Zee Action, Sony PAL, Sony WAH, Rishtey, Movies OK, Star Utsav, Star Utsav Movies, Discovery Jeet, Zee Action, Big Magic and so on.
This may also include some English language channels like Discovery Science and Discovery Turbo.
Almost all news channels will also be included in this basic tier, including Zee News, Zee Business, WION, CNBC Awaz, CNN News18, CNN International, India Today, Republic TV, Aaj Tak, Asianet News, Sun News, Kalaignar TV and so on, but will not include Times Now.
Most of the non-Hindi, regional channels too will be available on this tier.
The basic pack will also have sports channels, including Star Sports First, Star Sports 3 and DSport, all of which are priced in the range of Rs1-4 per month.
Premium pack: The premium plan, which will be priced at Rs300-350 for the standard definition version and Rs450-550 per month for the HD version, will contain practically all channels relevant to the subscriber’s particular language market.
Once the customer activates this premium pack, the only unavailable channels will be those that belong to other regional languages.
Examples of such premium channels include Star Plus, Zee, Zee Cinema, Colors, Sony, &TV, SET Max, Star Movies, History TV18, Star World, &Flix and so on.
These premium packs would largely resemble some of the expensive packs offered by cable and DTH operators in the market today.
One key aspect of such packs is that some of the non-relevant regional language channels may still be unavailable. For example, someone who subscribes to the premium pack in a Hindi-speaking state will not get access to premium South Indian channels like Sun TV and Asianet Movies.
To get these channels, customers will either have to switch to the Tamil or Malayalam version of the pack, or add these channels one-by-one by paying Rs19 extra per channel.
This limitation will not apply in cosmopolitan areas of mega cities or in border regions. For example, cable operators serving a South Indian dominated area of Mumbai would include premium South Indian channels in their packs as well, in addition to the Marathi and Hindi channels.
Broadcasters are primarily interested in pushing as many of their channels to as many homes as possible, and they believe that the best way to do this would be to offer only two types of packages — a basic one and a premium one, and by avoiding thematic offerings.
This strategy will cost those who are interested only in one or two genres like movies or reality and those who own multiple TVs and limit choice of viewers. The new policy aims to address this.