Sectoral regulator TRAI has directed six leading broadcasters, including Zee, ESPN Star and Star Den, not to charge from DTH and IPTV operators more than what is allowed under its tariff order.

In separate letters to the broadcasters, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which also regulates the broadcasting industry, said by introducing separate tariff for basic tier and add on packages, the companies were violating the rate cap of 42 per cent paid by cable operators for TV channels.

The regulator asked the broadcasters to modify their reference interconnect offer (RIO) -- which is signed with the service providers for subscribing their channels -- so that the charges comply with TRAI’s tariff order.

In an order on April 18, the Supreme Court had directed that broadcasters cannot charge more than 42 per cent of the rates paid by cable operators for TV channels from service providers with addressable systems, such as direct-to-home operators (DTH) and IPTV. Earlier the cap was 35 per cent.

TRAI said broadcasters are required to offer channels only on a-la-carte basis or in bouquet at the maximum rate of 42 per cent as per its tariff order after the court order.

“As a broadcaster, you have introduced separate tariff for the basic tier and add on packages, which is not prescribed and cannot be charged, as per the said tariff order,” the letters said.

Stating that the Supreme Court order is “operating and binding” on all concerned, TRAI asked the broadcasters to change their RIO with service providers on addressable platform to comply with its tariff order.

The companies to which TRAI had issued the directive are SUN 18 Media Service North Pvt Ltd, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, NEO Sports Broadcast Pvt Ltd, Zee Turner Ltd, Star Den Media Services Pvt Ltd and Taj Television India Pvt Ltd.

When contacted NEO Sports Broadcast Chief Operating Officer Prasana Krishnan: “We are in full compliance with the applicable regulations and the SC interim order. Our updated RIO is available on our website for reference.”

Comments from other broadcaster could not be immediately obtained.

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