Broadcasters have Divided opinion over DTH Platform Services

Sony Pictures Network (SPN), Times Network, Discovery Communications and ABP News Network (ANN) have submitted a separate opinion in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) consultation paper dated 28th August over Platform Services offered by DTH Operators.

ABP News Network (ANN) submitted to TRAI that a Platform Service (PS) channel should only carry exclusive content which is not available on any other operator other there would be no difference in PS and regular channels.

However, Times Network, Discovery and Sony Pictures Network (SPN) said that exclusivity should be left at the discretion of the content owner. Times network said that this will lead to restrictive practices, it added that in today’s converged world, there cannot be a totally exclusive program and it will give rise to numerous disputes in the industry.

Times Network told that the stipulation of 90 days recording of PS channels is sufficient and 1 year written log in not necessary. They said that further restrictions on the video on the traditional forms of broadcasting is unwarranted as it can lead to the creation of non-level playing field.

ANN recommended the registration/annual fee for PS channels to be same as what broadcasters pay for regular satellite channels, on the other hand, Times Network suggested a registration fee of  Rs. 1,00,000/- per PS channels in addition to the annual fee.

Times and Sony Pictures Network submitted that the number of PS channels should depend on the total capacity of that operator. Times network suggested that PS channel number be restricted to 5% of the channel carrying capacity subject to a maximum number of 15 TV channels while SPN recommended it to be limited at 1-2% of total capacity, While Discovery asked to limit this number to 2% of Network capacity of that operator.

Discovery, Times and Sony Pictures Network agreed that PS channels should not be placed in between TV channels in EPG and suggested that a separate genre should be made in which all PS channels should be grouped together. They also supported the provision for displaying name and the sequence number of PS channel in a particularly large font size under the heading PS or VAS on the TV screen so that they are distinguishable from the regular TV channels.

Additionally, SPN submitted that at least one of the regular TV channels must be active for the subscriber in order to access any PS channel. Times Network asked to consider PS channels as Value Added Services (VAS) not separate channels as regular channels are subject to various regulatory compliances.

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