Broadcasters have written to TRAI about levying a license fee on Platform Service Channels and also a cap on the number of such channels allowed.
Indian Broadcasters have spoken out and written to TRAI saying that there should be a cap on the number of platform services that the Indian DTH Operators are allowed to run on their platform. Platform services are different when compared to a Satellite TV channel which is provided by a Broadcaster and is not exclusive to the DTH or the particular DPO platform. Whereas, the Platform Services are created by the DTH operators only and they are available for a cost to their subscribers, as they exclusive to the particular platform.
The broadcasters have sent out to the comments to the telecom regulator upon the consultation paper Platform Services Offered by DTH Operators. As part of this submission, Sony Pictures Networks India also wrote to TRAI saying that there should be a limit to how many platform services a particular DTH operator can offer. Sony also added that the cap be set at 1% to 2% of the entire capacity, which is offered by the DTH operators. The broadcaster also said that the DTH operator should re-transmit the signal of the channels being provided by the broadcasters and there should not be any constraint on bandwidth because of the platform services being offered by DTH Operators.
Broadcasters ask for 15 Platform Services for each DTH Operator
Times Network, another major broadcaster had a similar thing to say on the consultation paper. Times Network said that the number of platform services that a DTH Operator is allowed to provide should be linked to the channel capacity of the DTH operator. Times Network suggested a 5% limit of total capacity for platform services, with a cap of a maximum of 15 channels with dedicated platform services by the DTH operator. The broadcaster also added that a large number of platform services could impact the TV watching experience in a negative manner.
Some of the broadcasters stated that too many platform services would lead to capacity constraint with the Direct to Home platform owners. This would mean that the platform services would start getting more preferences as compared to the channels by the broadcasters. There was also the question of whether or not the content generated by one platform should be made available on other platforms as well, to which SPNI said that it should be left on the content owner to decide. Times Network, on the other hand, said that sharing and broadcasting content on other platforms could have far-reaching consequences. It also said that once the content is made available on other platforms, it will not be up for monetisation by the DTH operators. This is likely to lead to restrictive practices. ABP News Network said that the platform services should be kept exclusive to the DTH operators, else they would lose the status of platform services.
Also, on the registration fee of platform services, Times Network suggested that Rs 1 lakh can be charged per platform service as registration charge in addition to an annual fee. According to the broadcaster, there should be a similar annual or registration fee for the platform services, as the broadcasters are asked to pay for a channel license. Broadcasters & DTH operators are divided on this issue as broadcasters are not in favour of an additional platform service registration fee.