Home > Business > Business Headline > Report
Channels to be separately priced under CAS
BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi |
May 22, 2003 14:21 IST
Broadcasting companies will not be allowed to offer pay channels as bouquets and instead, each channel will have to be offered to consumers separately with individual pricing under the conditional access system regime.
The information and broadcasting ministry will come out with directions to this effect within a fortnight.
The government is also likely to ask the broadcasting companies to come out with prices of individual channels by June 15.
The government today said there would be no change in the implementation date of CAS and it would start on July 14.
"With the unbundling of bouquets it will not be possible for the broadcasters to offer differential pricing for bouquets and channels and push the consumer towards subscribing to bouquets and not separate channels," said a senior information and broadcasting ministry official.
This will mean that Star TV will not be able of offer its channels as one bouquet and it will have to break its bouquet of channels and offer each channel like Star Plus individually to the consumers.
"The government would ask the channels to come out with a price list around a month before the actual roll out so that there is clarity about the pricing issue," said the government official.
"Officials said that the move to ask for a price list well in advance is to enable the multi system operators to procure set top boxes and distribute them in the areas specified for the initial roll out.
"The MSOs and consumers buy the set top box," the official said adding that the government is also likely to insist on channels sticking to the initial pricing atleast through the roll out phase.
In addition, the government would also specify that none of the channels in a bouquet should be priced more than 10 to 15 per cent of the average price of the channels in that bouquet.
"The pricing guidelines will prevent broadcasters from pricing one or few premium pay channels in a bouquet at a higher cost," said the government official.
As per the plans of some of the broadcasters, they would price the premier channels in the bouquet at a much higher price, while some other channels would be offered at a much cheaper rate.
When asked whether this would mean that the Cable Television Amendment Act would be amended further for this effect, the official said that the ministry is working on it and it could be in the form of a notification or an amendment.
Meanwhile, broadcasters today said that the pay channels in their bouquet would not go free to air.
"We will not go free to air," said Peter Mukherjee, chief executive officer, Star India, after the meeting of the taskforce on CAS.
Officials also said that the broadcasters told the government in the taskforce meeting that the channels would not go free to air to beat the purpose of CAS implementation.
MSOs and cable operators have told the government in the taskforce meeting that they have made substantial investments in procuring the set top boxes and channels should come out with prices in advance to enable a smooth roll out of CAS.