Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on 16th July has a tariff order namely the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (second) tariff (twelfth amendment) order, 2014 for provision of cable services to commercial subscribers. In the tariff order TRAI said that Commercial establishments which specifically charge clients on account of showing TV programmes will now have to pay tariff according to terms mutually agreed with the broadcaster. However, commercial establishments that do not charge its customers for providing television programmes are to be treated like ordinary subscribers and should be charged on per-television basis.
Following the Supreme Court order, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on June 11 had issued a consultation paper that relooks at the regulatory framework for tariff applicable for commercial subscribers. The Hon’ble Supreme Court on 16 April 2014 had directed that the impugned tariff, which is in force as on today, shall continue for a period of three months. Further, within these three months, TRAI will look into the matter de novo and re-determine the tariff after hearing the contentions of all the stakeholders.
Rejoice came for TV broadcasters as Delhi High Court on 13th March 2014 in its interim order continued the stay on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ad cap regulation which limits their airing of advertisements to 12 minute per hour. Hearing the petition filed by News Broadcasting Authority (NBA) against the sector regulator’s 12-minute ad cap regulation, the Delhi High Court warned Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from taking any coercive action against petitioners. Despite being protected by the interim relief, the petitioners have to submit a weekly report on the consumption of commercial airtime in a clock hour.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 31st March 2014 through a notification of the Tariff Order namely the “Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Eleventh Amendment) Order, 2014”, has allowed 27.5% inflation linked hike in the tariff ceilings. These revisions are applicable both at the wholesale and retail levels.
Manish Tewari while addressing a conference on the topics of Freedom of media and ethics stated that, Freedom of the press and journalistic ethics is an important topic today in India — with the word ‘press' encompassing the electronic media also. There should be a serious discussion on the topic. That discussion should include issues of the responsibilities of the press, since the media have become very prominent and very powerful.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Govt. of India) has introduced policy guidelines to operate television rating service in India. These guidelines shall be applicable to all rating agencies providing television rating service in India and shall come into force after 30 days from the date of issuance of the same. These guidelines are as follows:
On 10th of December the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had held an Open House Discussion on issues related to DTH services in India. Already two consultation papers had been issued on the subject earlier; one on 1st October 2013 on ‘Issue/Extension of DTH Licence’ and the second on 14 November on issues related to ‘new DTH licences’. This discussion was held after getting the response on both the above consultation papers from the stakeholders.
DTH services started operating in the country in 2003 when CAS implementation had just been deferred. This gave an extra boost to DTH because of its digital quality more channels and value additions. However, the industry could not flourish due to internal fights among the DTH platforms on account of content sharing since three major operators who entered the industry first, belonged to three major broadcasting groups who also owned many popular pay channels of all genres as well as MSO networks to distribute these channels. Due to fierce competition already prevalent on the ground they refused to abide by the law of the land ie.' Must provide ' and 'Must Carry' regulations for content engaging each other in court battles.
Last month TDSAT heard the arguments on all ad-cap related petitions by the broadcasters and News Broadcasters Association (NBA) against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Several arguments went back and forth between all the parties and, finally, it came to an end on 30 November.
Recent initiative of the sector regulator TRAI in regulating the distribution of TV channels from broadcasters to plateform operators and proposing to control or get rid of the channel aggregators/ distribution agents will change the entire scene of cable industry if implemented in totality.
Within a day of TRAI moving to prosecute 17 television channels for non-compliance of the advertisement cap regulation, Broadcasters met TDSAT and got a relief till November 11. In an earlier order passed by TDSAT on August 30, the Tribunal had asked TRAI not to take any “coercive action” against news channels for not implementing the agreed ad restrictions. This was a reaction to TRAI moving a Delhi court recently while issuing notices to 17 channels for not adhering to a 16-minute advertising cap per clock hour for non-news channels and a 20-minute cap for news channels which was part of a phased shift to 10+2 ad cap as agreed by all the broadcasters in a meeting with TRAI on 27 May 2013. In response to the NBA application, the TDSAT chairperson, Justice Aftab Alam, questioned TRAI on why it has initiated prosecution against broadcasters in the Delhi CMM Court for violating regulations, while TDSAT is currently seized of the matter and why TRAI had failed to keep the Tribunal informed before taking such a decision. Justice Alam specifically stated that while the Tribunal may not have the powers to quash the complaints filed by TRAI before the CMM Court, New Delhi, it was within its powers to grant the stay on the amended quality of service (QoS) regulations.
Last month TRAI asked for comments on a draft Tariff Order and draft Interconnect regulations fr0m all stake holders. This exercise of amending the regulations for digital addressable systems is being carried out to amend some clauses in the original regulations which were set aside in a TDSAT judgement given on four to five cases filed by the MSOs and LCOs against the unfair DAS regulations on 19 October 2012. Some of these regulations were even commented upon in the TDSAT order as 'Bad in Law'.
No right click