India may soon have advertisment-free channels on the lines of BBC, ABC and HBO. These may be in the genre of movies, kids and sports.
"Trai is interested in knowing the minds of the broadcasters who have been complaining of the existing tariff-caps hampering the growth of certain genres within the television space," a senior executive of a leading international broadcasting firm said.
Ad-free channels, once launched, will have to depend solely on the subscription revenue, and therefore, will require a regulatory atmosphere without any tariff cap, as currently practiced for paid channels in the country. In the US, ad-free channels like HBO and its variants are very expensive and cost around $80 (around Rs 400 per month), nearly double the average revenue per users for the entire cable industry currently.
Currently, there are two categories of television channelsï¿½free-to-air and pay. The pay channels are under strict tariff control as directed by Trai where the pay broadcasters can not price their channels above a certain price-point in the non-addressable analogue cable market determined by Trai. For the digital platforms, the price of pay channels has to be less than half the rates in the analogue cable market or non-CAS homes.