Consumers are unhappy about missing channels and higher prices than earlier
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has countered the claims of higher prices
Viewers also criticized a television blackout because of confusion from the new pricing model As we all know the new pricing model for cable television set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) came into effect from February 1. Just a few days after the plan has been introduced customers are already complaining about missing channels and increased prices. The subscribers were given the option to pick and choose to pay for the channels they want to watch, looks like this has led to much confusion among subscribers. A rushed transition by cable TV operators to act in accordance with the new pricing model appears to have resulted in a flurry of complaints now flooded on Twitter. Subscribers look frustrated about higher pricing that comes with choosing channels separately instead of the earlier bouquet of channels that were offered. One Twitter user wrote, “Now have to pay 2x more for 1/2 half the channels and this is supposed to be consumer friendly, the prices are ridiculous...” (sic). According to a CRISIL report, the monthly bill of subscribers is going to rise for most users with the new pricing. Sachin Gupta, Senior Director, Ratings told different media houses, “Our analysis of the impact of the regulations indicates a varied impact on monthly TV bills. Based on current pricing, the monthly TV bill can go up by 25% from ₹230- ₹240 to ₹300 per month for viewers who opt for the top 10 channels, but will come down for those who opt up to top 5 channels.” The TRAI chairman has refused the reports. Sharma told that the report was based upon an "inadequate understanding" of the TV distribution market and it was incorrect. "The report is based on choosing top-rated channels on the all-India basis and considers only one weekly report dated January 25, 2019, from TV Rating Agency, BARC," a TRAI statement said. Another grievance is missing channels. Some claim channels that were picked by viewers are not showing up on the operator’s list, adding further to the confusion. Viewers also complained of a blackout, after which TRAI sent a show-cause notice to Airtel. Meera Shetty, a Mumbai resident said, "There's complete lack of clarity. Even though a broadcasting channel offers a value pack, cable TV operators still have a single channel price on their list. I spoke to my cable TV operator and even he mentioned that the confusion exists because they are also waiting for a clear picture. He too expressed his unhappiness about the new pricing." TRAI also tried to address the issues taking it to Twitter, directing TV service providers to look into genuine concerns of subscribers relating to New Broadcasting Framework immediately. The regulatory authority had also introduced Channel Selector Application a new app to help viewers easily choose their channels. However, users are still confused about how to go about it.