As reported, IBF had said that by keeping NCF at Rs 160, distributors could charge for something that DD Free Dish is giving out free. COWF said that DD Free Dish is run on taxpayers’ money and channels pay a hefty sum to get a slot on it which they recover through ad rev.
COWF in its letter to TRAI said that since the advent of the TV business, broadcasters have been portraying the LCO community in poor light as “cheaters/goons who never declared proper numbers”.
The letter added, “This is perhaps a rare industry where a major stakeholder blames its distributors whenever things do not go their way. Once commercial terms are achieved, things go back to normal.” It goes on to say that broadcasters are also guilty of showing inflated declarations such as reach in order to gain advertisement tariff.
Over the years, cable operators have constantly kept abreast of all the latest technologies. MSOs and LCOs also run a business and need to recover costs, just as broadcasters, the letter goes on to mention.
COWF added: “On the NCF, our observation in the past year is that its calculation is cumbersome and many customers still do not understand it and it takes a lot of our time explaining to customers how we have billed them. Hence we had suggested that a higher limit be set up for a fixed NCF for SD channels and HD channels, just as broadcasters were permitted a higher cap of Rs 19 per month, which will give us the freedom to charge as per different market scenarios and as per our ROW needs.”
As per COWF, LCOs have tried to limit the rate increase by passing on benefits to customers. Some smaller MSOs have passed on the benefits to LCOs. Many MSOs have several channels in the FTA pack because they earn from carriage, marketing and placement fees, the letter adds.
COWF urged the broadcaster community to work together. “We are open to discuss all means by which we can reduce NCF on a mutual basis as long as you can find ways to ensure that our revenues are protected,” it says.