Last year in February, TRAI introduced a framework (called National Tariff Order i.e. NTO 1) to regulate Broadcasting and Cable services in India. The framework was quite interesting as it brings transparency among customers and gives broadcasters complete freedom. For example, before the framework was released we don’t know the individual price of Television Channels which is now present in front of us in the channel guide. Also, earlier, the subscribers don’t have the facility to subscribe to an individual channel. Similarly, broadcasters haven’t the facility to decide the price of their Television Channels.
However, the National Tariff Order released last year fulfills the desires of everyone. The facility was introduced to benefit everyone that includes Broadcasters, Subscribers, and Regulatory bodies, but certain broadcasters misuse the same facility. In a press release released recently, TRAI says some broadcaster enhance their channel price drastically more than 100%. The result is consumers have to pay more. Seems like these are some of the reasons TRAI amended the National Tariff Order they released last year.
Now, TRAI has brought a new tariff order (the amended version of NTO 1) which they are calling NTO 2. NTO 2 became live in India from 1st January 2020.
Well, the thing is, From NTO 1, those who get the most benefit is the broadcasters and now with the introduction of NT0 2, subscribers are going to get the maximum benefits. Here is How.
Here is what you need to know about NTO 2
- NTO 2 gives consumers the facility to choose their choice of channels. The channels, on the other hand, maybe a-la-carte or a bouquet.
- NTO 2 assures the price of a-la-carte channels will not be illusory.
- With the release of NTO 2, customers can now avail 200 SD channels excluding Prasar Bharti channels by giving a maximum NCF (i.e. network capacity fee) of Rs. 130 per month. However, In case, customers want to subscribe to more channels have to pay at most Rs. 160 as the monthly NCF.
- NTO 2 also gives Distribution platform operators the flexibility to offer their consumers promotions. For example, they can offer discounts on NCF.
- NTO 2 also introduces the concept of variable NCF. For example, rural or remote areas have lower NCF in comparison to urban areas.
- With the release of NTO 2, now, Multi TV Home subscribers have to pay only 40% of the NCF for every additional tv at home.
- NT0 2 provides broadcasters the full flexibility to price their channel as Maximum Retail Price.
- With NTO 2, the price of an a-la-carte channel should not be 1.5 times more than its price in a bouquet.
- Also, A channel priced above Rs. 12 can’t be part of a Bouquet. In NTO 1 this limit was Rs. 19.
- With effect from NTO 2, TRAI has ordered Broadcasters to publish revised MRP for a-la-carte-channels and bouquets by 15th January 2020. DPOs, on the other hand, have to update the new pricing on their website by 30th January 2020. Lastly, the customers will able to get the benefit of the new pricing by 1st March 2020.
So, these are some sets of amendments TRAI has made to the National Tariff Order which they released in February last year.
Do note that some of the broadcasters are opposing TRAI NTO 2 but TRAI says NTO 2 is going benefit all. In my opinion, these new amendments will not affect the pricing the channels that much but subscribers will definitely able to see more channels from earlier.