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‘Trai's latest tariff order to stifle content creation, hit growth’

Mumbai: In an unprecedented move, top honchos from fiercely competitive TV broadcast industry on Friday came together against regulator Trai's new tariff order on Friday, saying pricing caps on channels will stifle content creation, impact jobs and pull down growth.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) move aimed at reducing charges for subscribers is micro-regulation and puts the industry's future in "jeopardy", the lobby grouping Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) said.

In the second major change in a year, Trai had capped individual channel subscription at Rs 12 per month, down from the earlier Rs 19, and capped channel bundle discount to 33%, among other moves. The moves are effective from January 1 and analysts had opined this will reduce cable TV subscription charges by 14%.

"We want a stable and consistent regulatory regime for us to strategise better," N P Singh, the IBF president and the head of Sony Pictures Networks India, told reporters. He added that such a move will stifle content creation, impact jobs and also economic growth.

He said Trai has come out with 36 tariff orders in the 15 years of its existence, and termed a few of the recent decisions as "arbitrary" taken without any data or consumer insights.

The new set of guidelines are biased against bouquet offerings and the regulations should be non-discriminatory, he said.

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