Friday, 29 March 2013

TV channel distributors in the radar of I&B Ministry

The television channel distributors could be pulled up by TRAI as I&B Ministry may approach Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to look into the functioning of rapidly evolving content aggregators and television channel distributors. The regulatory body may also be asked to come up with the guidelines to bring in transparency and curb monopolies in this segment. 
Content aggregators typically aggregate content of various broadcasting companies to form channel bouquets to sell to cable and DTH firms. Companies such as MediaPro, Star DEN and One Alliance (MSM Discovery) aggregate and distribute content across platforms. These companies are responsible for monetizing content and negotiating subscription revenue share with cable and DTH firms. Forming channel bouquets and aggregating content of various broadcasters help these companies strike better deals with cable and DTH firms and gives them negotiation powers for reduction in carriage fees. This also helps broadcasting companies to monetize their content better across various platforms including the fast growing mediums such as Internet and mobile phones.
 According to a senior official, a set of guidelines for the content aggregation and distribution would help bring in transparency in the digital addressable regime and also keep a check on monopolies. These distribution companies do not require any licenses unlike television channels or Multi System Operators and DTH firms to operate.
In the past, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had asked for TRAI’s recommendations to check on the prevalence of monopolies in the cable sector, cross holding and media ownership restrictions as well as formulate guidelines on ownership on audience measurement system.


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