Indian TV rules threaten investments: CASBAA

Staff writer
Future TV Asia

CASBAA has lauded the judicial review now underway in India of proposed extension and tightening of India’s pay-TV rate regulations.

The Madras High Court is currently reviewing the clash between the rights of copyright owners around the world and new tariff regulations proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The court has ordered the TRAI not to give effect to the rules until the underlying issues are considered.

CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter said the new rules would be a major negative factor for the business environment in the $17 billion Indian media industry.

“India’s pay-TV regulations have long been among the strictest in the world,” said Slaughter. “The proposed new rules are highly intrusive and would make the environment much worse. Such a heavy-handed regulatory regime will inevitably hit foreign companies’ interest in investing in India.”

Indian law gives copyright owners the ability to price and sell their creative works. In filing the Madras suit, the petitioner broadcasting organizations denounced the TRAI regulation as contrary to these principles as enshrined in the law, and in international treaties to which India is a signatory.

The TRAI rules would establish a controlled price regime by mandating a la carte channel supply, setting the ceiling, by specific genres, that broadcasting organizations can charge to multichannel program distributors, limiting discounts, prescribing carriage fees, and stipulating a compulsory distribution fee to be paid by Broadcasting Organizations to multichannel program distributors.

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