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Cost-conscious consumers opt for free-to-air pack


KOLKATA: The switchover to a new tariff regime in cable television has seen round 60,000-75,000 consumers in Kolkata go out pay channels and decide just for the free-to-air bundle, a cause for nervousness to both multi-system operators (MSOs) and broadcasters. Many of them are left questioning if the knowledge represents client choice or is a misrepresentation of info by means of native cable operators (LCOs).

SITI Cable, Hathway and GTPL, which in combination have nearly1crore of the nearly1.three crore cable connections in the state and have equivalent dominance in Kolkata, had negligible FTAonly subscribers in the earlier tariff regime. But for the reason that switchover on February 7, just about 2%-2.5% consumers have reportedly opted for the FTA bundle without pay channels.


“The knowledge from LCOs are being collated. The one factor that has stood out is the somewhat huge selection of FTA-only consumers. We have to achieve out to them in the near future to cross-check why their viewing habits have altered so dramatically in the new tariff regime,” said Suresh Sethia of SITI Cable, the largest MSO in Kolkata and the remainder of Bengal.

An legit at Hathway, too, said the selection of subscribers who seemed to have exited pay channels used to be startling. “These are figures collated from LCOs and wish to be authenticated. Perhaps those are fence-sitters who want to see how the new tariff regime works ahead of they come on board,” a Hathway representative said.

MSOs and broadcasters stand to lose probably the most if consumers go out pay channels as the maximum chew of the revenue will get split between them, with broadcasters taking the


lion’s share. For FTA-only programs that include the network capability charge (NCF), it's the LCO that corners the most important share, with the remainder going to MSOs. This has resulted in a doubt among broadcasters on whether the top FTA-only subscriber depend is a ploy by means of a section of operators to hurt broadcasters.


Operators, despite the fact that, have a simple logic at the back of the upward thrust in FTA-only depend. According to them, a number of properties that had two or 3 TV connections the place they viewed pay channels at massive reductions have opted for only one bundle in the new regime as MSOs and DTH platforms are but to announce any reductions for multiple TVs in one family.


“Earlier, consumers loved a minimum of 50% discount at the secondary connection. But now the bundle value in the principle connection itself has higher by means of 50% in some cases. Hence, many have no longer opted for pay channels for the secondary connection,” said a cable operator in Ballygunge.


Trai, the company overseeing the switchover to the new tariff regime, has identified the quandary that buyers are dealing with about multiple TV connections at properties. “A couple of subscribers have raised the issue. The regulation does no longer limit provider providers from providing reductions or lower NCF for additional connections on the identical cope with. However, such reductions have to be uniform in the respective audience space of the channel distributors and duly declared by means of the distribution platform operators on the websites,” a Trai observation said, adding that some provider providers had begun providing reductions that absolutely waived NCF on further TV connections on the identical cope with.


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