TRAI pulls up DPOs for non-implementation of broadcaster promotional schemes

MUMBAI: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has pulled up distribution platform operators (DPOs) for failing to implement the festive promotional schemes offered by the broadcasters.

The regulator has issued a direction to all DPOs and has asked them to ensure compliance with various provisions of the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable TV Services.

The TRAI has directed DPOs to immediately implement the promotional schemes offered by the said broadcasters and modify the Distributor Retail Price (DRP) of the channels.

It has also asked the DPOs to display the modified DRPs of channels offered under promotional schemes on their website, consumer care channel and electronic programme guide.

Further, the DPOs have to charge their subscribers, who have subscribed to the channels offered under promotional schemes on a-la-carte basis, the modified DRPs from the date of the offer of such promotional schemes i.e. 15th October 2019;

The DPOs have also been directed to refund/ adjust the excess subscription amount, if any, charged from the subscribers due to the non-implementation of promotional schemes.

TRAI clarified that the excess subscription amount shall be the difference of DRP of channels pre promotional schemes and the modified DRP of channels post promotional schemes and shall be calculated from 15th October 2019 till the date of extending the benefits of said promotional schemes to subscribers.

The DPOs have to send compliance of the direction to the authority by 1st November.

TRAI stated that Star India, ZEEL, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and TV18 Network have launched promotional schemes by reducing the maximum retail price (MRP) of some of their channels with effect from 15th October.

It noted that even after the lapse of several days, some DPOs are yet to implement the promotional schemes offered by the broadcasters on their platform.

The authority added that some distributors of television channels did not modify the distributor retail prices (DRPs) of channels offered under such promotional schemes and did not display modified DRPs on their website, consumer care channel and electronic programme guide.

It pointed out that non-implementation of promotional schemes by DPOs violates the provisions of the Tariff Order, 2017 and the QoS Regulations, 2017 and is against the interests of subscribers of broadcasting and cable services.

Star India has launched ‘Tyohar ka Upahar’, a promotional offer for its 16 a-la-carte channels including its popular channels namely Star Plus, Maa TV, Star Jalsha, Vijay, Asianet, and Hungama TV. The festive offer prices will be available with immediate effect.

ZEEL has slashed the MRP of its six leading general entertainment channels to mark its 27th anniversary. As part of the Festive Bonanza Offer, the a-la-carte price of Zee TV, Zee Marathi, Zee Bangla, Zee Telugu, Zee Kannada and Zee Sarthak has been reduced to Rs. 12 per month from the present Rs. 19.

Viacom18 has revised the a-la-carte price for its flagship Hindi GEC Colors and Kannada GEC Colors Kannada at Rs 12/month each. The two channels were earlier priced at Rs 19/month each.

As part of ‘Ab India aur bhi Happy’ festive offer, SPNI has reduced the a-la-carte price of Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Sony Sab and Sony Max to Rs 12 from Rs 19.

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