TRAI released Consultation paper on Platform Services offered by DTH Operators

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) yesterday issued a consultation paper on Platform Services offered by DTH Operators and asked for suggestions from stakeholders on issues related to platform service channels offered by Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) requested TRAI in July this year to give its considered recommendations related to platform services.

Platform Services are special channels being offered by DPOs but not obtained from broadcasters. DPOs use Platform Services to offer innovative services and product differentiation, like Tata Sky Showcase which offers ad-free access to movies before premier on any other channel. It also acts as a unique selling proposition (USP) for DPOs and also helps them in meeting the specific needs of their subscribers.

TRAI in its consultation paper is asking for comments on increasing one-time registration fee of each platform service channel from Rs 1,000 to Rs. 1 Lakh. Currently, platform service channels pay Rs. 10,000 as processing fee, Rs 5 Lakh per annum as licence fee and Rs. 5 Lakh as permission fee for downlinking channels. Broadcasters also pay Rs. 10 Lakh per year if the uplink transmission is not from India.

DPOs have many movies-on-demand or pay-per-view services, and some titles do overlap from one DPO to another. TRAI said that the content of platform services should not be shared otherwise it would be just like any other regular TV channel.

TRAI also said that there is a lack of a limit on the maximum number of platform services a DTH operator can have. As of now, operators are having as many as 41 platform service channels. As per rules, a DPO must carry a channel within 60 days of a receiving a written request from the broadcaster, or within 30 days of signing the agreement, but currently, this rule is not valid as almost all DTH operators have declared that they do not have spare capacity to carry more channels.

TRAI is also asking for comments on separate sequencing of platform service channels from regular channels, which should be displayed separately under the ‘PS’ or ‘Value Added Services’ heading.

TRAI is seeking comments on these issues by 27th September from the stakeholders.

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