IPTV providers approach TRAI, Broadcasters charge 3-times high fee

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IPTV providers approach TRAI, Broadcasters charge 3-times high fee

Franchisee of the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have approached telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) for intervention in the pricing of TV channels that broadcasters charge from IPTV providers.

Presently, there is no regulation for IPTV services. Broadcasters are charging very high fee from the IPTV service providers, which makes it unviable for them to offer IPTV services. For instance, a bouquet of TV channels would cost Rs 700 per month to IPTV franchisee of BSNL. The same bouquet will cost a subscriber of cable TV or DTH services about Rs 300 per month. This is one of the reasons why IPTV services offered by BSNL are not picking up.

TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra confirmed that some IPTV service providers have approached him for some kind of regulation on IPTV. When DTH services were launched, disputes between broadcasters and DTH service providers delayed the services. Finally, TRAI had to intervene and force the broadcasters and DTH service providers to negotiate come up with a tariff structure. Finally, DTH services could take off.

IPTV is still in nascent stages in India. Even though MTNL is offering IPTV services, its subscribers are less than 10,000 in Delhi and Mumbai. BSNL has ambitious plans in IPTV services. It is proceeding through franchisee model. IOL, Divi Net and Exicom are its franchisee, while Aksh has also applied for its Franchisee.

With BSNL and MTNL accounting for over 90% of India'''s landline subscribers, they have an advantage in IPTV.



IPTV providers approach TRAI, Broadcasters charge 3-times high fee
 
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NEW DELHI: Telecom operators planning to offer Internet protocol TV (IPTV) services, where one can get all TV channels via fixed line, has urged telecom regulator TRAI to fix prices for channels on this platform. BSNL, MTNL, Reliance and Bharti, among others, have urged the telecom regulator to fix channel prices.

TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra confirmed the development. “Several telecom operators providing IPTV services or planning to do so have approached us on this issue. They have said that since IPTV is an addressable platform to deliver content just like DTH, we should have similar regulations here too with regard to fixing of channel prices. We are looking into the matter.”

As of now, only state-owned telcos BSNL and MTNL are offering IPTV services in select cities. So their franchisee partners like Aksh Optifibres, Time Broadband and IOL Broadband strike revenue deals with broadcasters for getting content on these platforms.

Industry sources claim that even though IPTV is a niche segment, broadcasters ask for significantly higher prices than being offered to analogue, DTH or CAS platforms and usually ask for a minimum subscriber guarantee.

A senior executive that is partnering BSNL and MTNL to provide IPTV services said, “As franchisees, we have been discussing the issue of high costs that we have to bear for getting various channels on the IPTV platform.

Therefore, we have asked our partner telecom players to urge the government to lower the acquisition cost of content on the platform,” he said. He added that even though IPTV is considered to be the cheapest digital service, it does not enjoy the same benefits being extended to CAS and DTH players like fixed pricing.

Telecom companies and franchisees believe that a lower content acquisition cost will ensure that they would reach the break-even point faster. This, in turn, will ensure that they would be able to roll out IPTV services in other cities faster, especially in rural areas where high cost of a set-top box is a barrier for extending CAS to these areas.

For instance, to subscribe to MTNL IPTV services in New Delhi, a consumer needs to have a broadband connection and can then avail IPTV services with a refundable security of Rs 999. As per the latest schemes being run, a consumer does not have to pay anything additional for the hardware as well as gets a subscription fee waiver for the first 12 months.







Telcos ask TRAI to fix channel price for IPTV- Telecom-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times
 
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Industry sources claim that even though IPTV is a niche segment, broadcasters ask for significantly higher prices than being offered to analogue, DTH or CAS platforms and usually ask for a minimum subscriber guarantee.

Sounds like a catch-22.

How can new methods of delivery ever take off in this case ?

..maybe the idea is to protect the current status quo. But then the status quo has been reached over many yrs, since the start of cable tv. So, having more subscribers is certainly an incentive for broadcasters to lower costs to whomever has them.

How to sort out this paradox ?

If TRAI intervenes then isn't it favortism. But there is a precendent as they already did so for the DTH segment.

Can't wait to dump by cable tv :whistle: