Soon, consumers will have right to demand any TV channel

TV viewers in the four metro cities will soon be able to demand the provision of their favourite channels as a right, as the Information and Broadcasting ministry is planning to implement a "must provide clause" for cable operators.

Speaking at a press conference here, Additional Secretary in the I&B ministry, Rajiv Takru, said that once digitisation of the cable sector in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata is achieved by June 30, it will be the consumers' right to demand any channel that is available in India.

"In the present case the analog cables can carry a limited number of channels. Therefore, a selection is made by the local cable operator of which channels to provide and the consumer is left with no choice.
"After digitisation consumers will be able to pick and choose the channels that they want and through a Set Top Box (STB), these channels will be provided to them and they would pay money only for the chosen channels," he said.

TRAI would decide the rate for each channel, and customers would know in advance how much they would have to pay for.

The problem of unreliable television rating points (TRPs) would also be history once digitisation of cable sector is achieved, Takru said. Computers would record the exact data of what viewers are watching once the signals are used through the STBs, he said.

"The TRP is a problem these days. You must have seen that channels sometimes telecast strange programmes for TRPs. World over subscriptions provide 70 per cent of revenues of broadcasters and the remaining 30 per cent through advertising. The trend was the opposite in India," Takru said.

"The biggest advantage of this Digital technology is that exact data of how many people are watching which channel would be available and the question of TRPs based on data of just 8000 TV sets would vanish altogether," he said.

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