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Sony and Zee file their RIOs to comply with TRAI regulation

MUMBAI: Broadcasters Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Zee have also filed their reference interconnection offers (RIO) declaring the maximum retail price (MRP) and classification of channels.

Earlier, IndiaCast, which represents TV18 and Viacom18, Sun TV Network and Disney India, had filed their respective RIOs in compliance with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) regulation to file the same by 2 May.

With Sony and Zee following, Star India is the only major broadcaster that has not yet filed its RIO. The 21st Century Fox-owned company had on 2 May requested TRAI to give it 10 more days to file the RIO.

The broadcaster, which has challenged the TRAI tariff order and regulation, is hoping to get a reprieve from the Supreme Court. It has filed a special leave petition (SLP) challenging Clause 3 of the tariff order and Clause 7 of the regulation.

The main petition challenging TRAI’s jurisdiction to come out with a tariff order and regulation for TV channels will come up in the Madras High Court on 12 June.

TRAI had capped the price of individual channels in a bouquet at Rs 19. Any channel above that MRP cannot be part of a bouquet.

The authority has also prescribed a rental fee of up to Rs 130 per month, excluding taxes, which DPOs can charge from subscribers towards their distribution network cost to carry 100 SD channels.

Subscribers will have to pay additional Rs 20 per month excluding taxes for additional network capacity in bundles or lots of 25 SD channels.

The regulator has capped carriage fees for standard definition (SD) channels at 20 paisa per channel per subscriber per month and 40 paisa for high definition (HD) channels in the regulation.

Another key provision in the regulation is the prescription of a revenue share of 55:45 between multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) for the network capacity fee in case they fail to arrive at a mutual agreement.

Meanwhile, the seven multi-system operators (MSOs) affiliated to the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) have published on their respective websites their RIO, carriage, target market and channel capacity, and channels offered, in compliance with the TRAI’s interconnection regulation. The carriage fee rate card uploaded by the MSOs has a uniform rate of 0.20 paisa for SD and 0.40 paisa for HD channels. The seven members are Hathway Cable & Datacom, DEN Networks, Siti Networks, InDigital, Fastway Transmission, GTPL Hathway and ICNCL.

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