Exclusivity should not be defining criteria of Platform Service channels, suggests Tata Sky, Airtel and Asianet

Replying to the consultation paper released by TRAI on Platform services, Major DTH operators Tata Sky, Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV along with Cable operator Asianet have submitted to TRAI that programmes of the platform service (PS) should not be exclusively available only to one single DTH operator.

They said that exclusivity may pose challenges for content owners to monetise their content, in addition to this, shows and movies such as Friends, Sholey, etc. run across linear channels without a bar on exclusivity, also festivals and events covered on PS channels cannot be restrained to just one DTH operator.

Airtel, Dish TV and Tata Sky have said that recording of PS channels for 90 days is sufficient and aligned to the license conditions hence written logs for a period of 1 year are not required. DTH operators also said that current Registration/annual fee is adequate and the regulator should not make any change in these charges.

However, Asianet recommended a one-time registration fee of Rs.1000/- per channel to be charged including online registration, it also said that registration fee should be more to get the PS Channels registered and high the amount shall be a burden on the DPOs. Dish TV asked the regulator to impose an annual fee on cable platforms as they are not required to pay any kind of entry or license fee to the government.

All four operators have said that PS channels are already being placed in the appropriate genre on the basis of their content and there is no need to create a separate genre for them as it will reduce their visibility and may cause inconvenience to the viewers.

They submitted that it is unnecessary to label PS channels in a particular font size under the heading PS or VAS. Airtel and Tata Sky said that the new font size will cause a financial burden. Asianet added that a subscriber selects any channel based on the content and it does not matter to the subscriber whether it is from satellite or DPO, hence it is not important to separate PS channels from regular channels.

Asianet also asked TRAI to direct BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council of India) to allow PS channels to register for viewership ratings which will help in earning advertisement revenue and reducing the content cost for the consumers.

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