RS Sharma, chairman, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), has stated that IBF's claims about NTO 1.0 and NTO 2.0 being a hindrance to its per functioning is rubbish and only brings fears in the minds of consumers.
He claimed that TRAI has taken the right steps in the interests of the audience and the industry and no one should be compelled to watch channels they don’t want to see.
He explained, “Our own data points that 90 per cent of the people watch only about 50 channels out of the 800-900 channels in the country. As compared to television, OTT platforms allow much more freedom to watch content and one of the reasons for the audience shifting away to OTT platforms. So it cannot be attributed to provisions of the NTO 2.0 or NTO1.0 which is not against the interests of the industry or unreasonable. TRAI has taken the right steps in the interests of the audience and industry. No one should be compelled to watch channels they don’t want to see.
He added, “IBF’s statement is rubbish and only to bring fear in the minds of people. What right do you have? You have approached the court. There is a rule of law and regulation. The H’ble court will decide on the issue. Are you fighting the battle of legality or of perception of the public? This is not fair. There is a law which can be challenged on an appropriate fora and that challenge has been done. We should wait for the decision of the Hon'ble court and accordingly go about it. Creating baseless, unmindful fears in the minds of people does not serve any purpose.”
Earlier this year, The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had expressed 'shock' and 'disappointment' on TRAI's latest amendment on the new tariff order.
TRAI had reduced the cap on the MRP of individual channels, which can form part of any bouquet, to Rs.12 per month, from the earlier cap of Rs.19.
The IBF had conveyed that these changes will significantly impact the growth of the broadcast sector. It believes that at a time when the economic environment is tough, this tariff order will force a lot of channels to shut down and will lead to unemployment in the sector.
Sharma was in conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now.
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Rao is currently CEO of dentsuMB Group India