Trai asks distributors to ensure channels do not get repeated in packs
25 February 2019
The Telecom regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which is also the regulator for television and broadcasting, has directed distributors of TV channels to ensure that channels are not repeated in their bundling for consumers.
The Trai direction follows follow complains by customers alleging that distributors repeat channels in their lists or add-on packs to show numbers while fooling the public and Trai alike.
Trai has now directed channel distributors to place channels belonging to the same genre together so that one channel appears only at one place as prescribed under its rules, failing which it will take action against the erring distributor.
Trai's directive is important for a subscriber as placing same genre channels together will reduce consumer’s pain in locating channels.
For the channels, on the other hand, appearance in more than one place can influence their visibility and ratings.
Trai said it has received complaints alleging transmission of TV channels on dual 'Logical Channel Number', or placement of TV channels by distributors out of the genre or category declared by the broadcaster.
"Now, therefore, the authority, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it...and in order to protect the interest of service providers and consumers and ensure orderly growth of the sector, hereby directs all distributors of television channels to ensure that the TV channels of the same genre, as declared by the broadcasters, are placed together consecutively and one channel shall appear at one place only," said Trai.
"The directive is effective immediately and TV channel distributors have been asked to strictly ensure compliance with the regulations. The directive has been issued to ensure that consumers do not face any inconvenience," PTI quoted Arvind Kumar, Advisor (Broadcasting), as saying.
Trai's service quality regulations that came into effect in July 2018 requires every broadcaster to declare the genre of its channels under categories like devotional, general, entertainment, movies, news and current affairs amongst others.
It is mandatory for the distributor to place channels in the electronic programme guide, in such a way that the television channels of the same genre, are placed together consecutively, and one channel appears only at one place. Under the rules, every distributor of TV channel assigns a unique channel number for each TV channel available on the network, and in case a broadcaster changes the genre of a channel then the assigned channel number is also changed such that it is placed together with channels of the new genre in the electronic programme guide.