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Stung by price rise, cost-conscious consumers opt for free-to-air pack

KOLKATA: The switchover to a brand new tariff regime in cable tv has observed round 60,000-75,000 consumers in Kolkata go out pay channels and opt only for the free-to-air bundle, a motive for anxiety to both multi-system operators (MSOs) and broadcasters. Many of them are left questioning if the knowledge represents consumer choice or is a misrepresentation of info through native cable operators (LCOs).

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

“The information from LCOs are being collated. The one issue that has stood out is the rather huge choice of FTA-only consumers. We have to reach out to them within the close to future to cross-check why their viewing behavior have altered so dramatically within the new tariff regime,” said Suresh Sethia of SITI Cable, the biggest MSO in Kolkata and the remainder of Bengal.

An reputable at Hathway, too, said the choice of subscribers who looked as if it would have exited pay channels was once startling. “These are figures collated from LCOs and want to be authenticated. Perhaps these are fence-sitters who want to see how the brand new tariff regime works ahead of they come on board,” a Hathway consultant said.

MSOs and broadcasters stand to lose the most if shoppers go out pay channels as the utmost chew of the revenue will get cut up between them, with broadcasters taking the

lion’s share. For FTA-only programs that include the network capability rate (NCF), it's the LCO that corners the most important share, with the remaining going to MSOs. This has resulted in a doubt among broadcasters on whether the high FTA-only subscriber count is a ploy through a piece of operators to hurt broadcasters.

Operators, even though, have a easy good judgment behind the upward thrust in FTA-only count. According to them, several houses that had two or three TV connections where they seen pay channels at large discounts have opted for just one bundle within the new regime as MSOs and DTH platforms are but to announce any discounts for more than one TVs in one household.

“Earlier, shoppers enjoyed a minimum of 50% discount at the secondary connection. But now the bundle price in the primary connection itself has higher through 50% in some instances. Hence, many have now not opted for pay channels for the secondary connection,” said a cable operator in Ballygunge.

Trai, the company overseeing the switchover to the brand new tariff regime, has known the dilemma that buyers are dealing with about more than one TV connections at properties. “A couple of subscribers have raised the issue. The law does now not restrict carrier providers from offering discounts or decrease NCF for additional connections on the similar address. However, such discounts need to be uniform within the respective target market house of the channel vendors and duly declared through the distribution platform operators on the websites,” a Trai remark said, including that some carrier providers had begun offering discounts that totally waived NCF on additional TV connections on the similar address.

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