Peeved at sectoral regulator TRAI’s move to cap the wholesale fees payable by DTH and IPTV operators for pay TV channels at 35 per cent of the rates paid by cable operators, broadcasters are mulling to challenge the order in court.
“The broadcasters are aggrieved. We are discussing the matter with our lawyers for moving court and the first draft should be ready by next week,” Indian Broadcasting Foundation President Jawahar Goel told PTI.
Last week, in its tariff order to be effective from September 1, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) made it mandatory for broadcasters to make channels available to DTH cable operators in conditional access system (CAS) areas and IPTV providers at 35 per cent of the corresponding rates for normal cable operators.
Currently, pay TV channels are made available to DTH companies at 50 per cent of the normal price charged to a cable operator.
DTH operators have, however, welcomed the TRAI directive, calling the order “a move in the right direction”.
“The move to bring down the wholesale price of channels for addressable systems is a small, but significant step in the right direction to enable India digitise faster,” Airtel Digital spokesperson said.
However, they did add that the 35 per cent rate was not enough.
“In a scenario where cable under declaration is rampant, 35 per cent is not enough. It should be as low as 20 per cent to help DTH operators compete and become profitable,” Tata Sky CEO Vikram Kaushik said.