With just six hours remaining for the expiry of TRAI’s deadline for the announcement of new channel packs and prices, three of India’s biggest cable networks — Den Networks, Hathway Cable and Siti Cable — have announced their new plans and details.
The latest to do so was Hathway Cable, which has given two separate lists — one comprising entirely free channels and priced at around Rs 150 per month, and another containing pay channels and costing considerably more.
PAY TV PACKS
The company has opted to charge the maximum allowed by the TRAI as its network charge — Rs 130 per month plus tax of Rs 24.
Under the new regime, it is up to the customer to pay the network charge for 100 channels and include or exclude whatever channels he or she wants.
However, cable and DTH companies can also offer tailor-made packages as starting points.
Hathway, for example, offers various sample pay channel packs in the range of Rs 270-400 per month.
In markets like Marathi, where there are a lot of lower priced pay channels, the company has created pay channel bouquets costing around Rs 270 per month, while in other markets, prices of pay channel bouquets start at around Rs 300 per month.
It should be noted that these are only suggested packs. Under the new system created by the TRAI, it is up to the customer to pick and choose each channel and form his own unique pack according to his family’s viewing habits.
Also interesting is the choice of free channels that the cable operators are offering under their ‘basic pack’.
Here too, it should be remembered that it is upto the customers to activate whatever free channels they want in their package, and they are not bound to accept the configuration given by Hathway, Den or any other operator.
Still, many non-tech savvy customers are likely to simply keep the default package suggested by the cable operator unchanged.
Some of the channels chosen by Hathway Cable for its basic pack are news channels Republic TV, NewsX, Aaj Tak, DW TV, India TV, ABP News, India News, Sangeet Bangla and FTV.
There are minor variations in the configuration, depending on the market.
As such, any channel that is present on the default pack is likely to see a big boost in viewership, and consequently in ad revenue.
This is also applicable to pay channels included in the ‘sample packs’, though not to the same extent. Unlike ‘basic’ customers, subscribers who watch pay channels are more likely to reconfigure their channels by calling the cable operator or using the company’s app or website.
You can see Hathway’s suggested basic packs below.
To see Hathway’s suggested pay channel configurations, please click here. Again, it should be remembered that under the new configuration, all customers can remove and add any channel of his or her choice to his subscription, including free channels and pay channels.
In case a subscriber opts to include a pay channel, he or she has to pay the subscription fees of the channel over and above the Rs 154 network charges levied by Hathway.
You can find the price of each channel here. Subscribers do not have to pay any extra network charge if they are willing to drop an existing channel from their current pack.
With Hathway joining Den and Siti Cable, most of the big cable operators have complied with TRAI’s tariff order of 2017.
However, DTH operators are yet to comply, and have only till midnight today to do so and avoid fines and penalties. You can see the packs and prices of other DTH and cable operators here.