It has been a month since the customers are following the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) new rules. According to a Mid-day report, a Mumbai-based media consultant Ravi Nair has written to the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP), objecting to the norms and recommending an amicable solution instead. Ravi was quoted by the leading daily as saying, "I am proposing a plan under which we don't need the [segregation between] FTA [and paid] channels."
He further added, "If we do away with this [segregation of] FTA and paid channels, and pay Rs 2.50 or Rs 3 for every channel that we wish to consume, it could lead to a more consumer-friendly plan."
Ravi argues, "Channels earn money from the producers of the programs that they air, through commercials, sponsorship and brand endorsements as well. I don't wish to become a source via which they make more money. If a viewer pays [for a channel], he must not pay for advertisements. Let the channels stop airing ads in that case. The model should facilitate the interests of viewers and do away with additional costs which only make the TV conglomerates richer."
Backing Nair's claims, MGP president Shirish Deshpande said, "In a previous meeting with TRAI secretary Sunil Gupta, I too had raised this concern, but they claimed that the pricing had been arrived at following research. I feel the costs tilt in the favour of broadcasters and channel owners. This needs to be revisited because of the grievances of consumers. There must be an in-depth study carried out on pricing, and [benefits of] all stakeholders must be considered."
"My colleagues are considering it. We have received multiple complaints from consumers, who, despite choosing what they want, are being charged more than what they were before."
He further said that a press conference will be held after they have conducted sufficient research to pursue it further.