New Delhi – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced on February 10 amendments to the existing regulatory framework with regard to distribution of TV channels from broadcasters to Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) viz. Cable, DTH, HITS and IPTV operators. This has been done to address the market distortions caused because of the present role assumed by the authorised agents (aggregators) of the broadcasters, which were also amply reflected during the Phase I and Phase 11 of digitisation of cable TV sector. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had also sent a reference to TRAI in this regard, requesting for review of the regulatory framework with regard to the aggregators. These amendments will also contribute to the orderly growth and overall development of the sector by streamlining the distribution of TV channels from broadcasters to DPOs.
2. The salient provisions in these amendments are:
i. Broadcaster is defined as an entity having the necessary Government permissions in its name.
ii. Only the broadcaster shall publish the Reference Interconnect Offers (RIOs) and enter into interconnection agreements with DPOs.
iii. However, in case a broadcaster, in discharge of its regulatory obligations, is using the services of an agent, such authorised agent can only act in the name of and on behalf of the broadcaster.
iv. The broadcaster shall ensure that its authorised agent, while providing channels/bouquets to the DPOs, does not alter the bouquets as offered in the RIO of the broadcaster.