TRAI bars placement fee from channels

New Delhi: Conceding to a major demand of broadcasters, telecom regulator TRAI on Monday barred Multi-System Operators (MSOs) from demanding `placement fee` from channels in lieu of placing them in select slots.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said it had issued amendments to the Interconnection Regulations which were earlier issued on April 30, and applicable to Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems.

"Multi-system operator (are) not to demand any placement fee from the broadcaster," the TRAI statement said.

"Every multi-system operator (has) to display, in his Electronic Programme Guide, all the channels offered by him, in the same genre in which a particular channel has been indicated by the broadcaster and one channel shall appear in only one genre," the TRAI statement added.

Broadcasters will also have to declare the genre of their channels, TRAI said in its statement.

These genres may be either News and Current Affairs or Infotainment or Sports or Kids or Music or Lifestyle or Movies or Religious/Devotional or General Entertainment (Hindi) or General Entertainment (English) or General Entertainment (regional language), it added.

By banning the placement fee, TRAI has accepted the demand of several leading broadcasters, who wanted the telecom regulator to take this step.

These channels had earlier protested TRAI`s decision to allow MSOs to charge `carriage fee`. Carriage fee is the money charged by MSOs and cable operators from broadcasters to carry their channel to the viewer, on their network.

The telecom regulator also tried to make the system under which carriage fee is charged more transparent, under its amended regulations.