First of its kind survey collates views of a massive 10,000+ TV consumers
Strong validation of TV as Value for Money video medium by 70% of consumers
Majority of consumers surveyed prefer bouquets, and expect a lot from them
New Delhi, 03 August 2022: Broadband India Forum (BIF) and Consumer Unity & Trust Society
(CUTS International) today released a Report based on a nation-wide survey of over 10,000 TV
consumers to gauge consumer perception with respect to the choice enjoyed for TV channel
selection and overall satisfaction. The largest independent and neutral study conducted for the first
time in India keeping the consumer perception in mind – for a sample size of over 10,000 TV
consumers spread over diverse age, income, milieu and gender groups; the study brings to light
some interesting findings which go to strengthen the importance and relevance of TV even in
today’s day and age when digital/OTT media and apps proliferating rapidly.
Key findings of the Study Report:
- TV is the most preferred mode of video content consumption: It is worth noting that
an astounding 70% of the consumers surveyed felt that television offers a value-for-money
proposition, as compared to a mere 27% in the case of digital/OTT platforms and barely 3% in the
case of TV apps.
- Consumers prefer bouquets: Another telling find is that 54% of consumers surveyed avail
of TV channels via bouquets/packages and another 35% do so via a combination of bouquets and
individual channels. With an effective total of 89% of the consumers surveyed preferring
bouquets, they become an overwhelmingly -preferred choice.
- Consumers want more from their subscriptions, even though they prefer bouquets:
40% consumers feel their subscriptions cater to the viewing needs of the entire family. Several
consumers felt there is room for their levels of satisfaction to grow, as they want to watch other and
new channels that they think they may like. There is need for ‘effective choice’ to be exercised by
- Pricing: Price is the most important factor for choosing TV package subscription for many
consumers. Most consumers are subscribed to the basic package offered by the distributors which
provide between 100-200 channels. The average charges paid by the consumers are between INR
200 and INR 400 for their subscriptions, on a monthly basis.
- Lack of awareness on how to select (or delete) channels and dependence on last-mile
TV distributors: Several consumers (31%) claimed that they were unaware of the possibility of
adding/removing TV channels from their subscription packages, 51% are not inclined towards
adding/removing channels themselves, and only 43% of those who add/remove TV channels found
the process convenient. A majority of consumers (60%) rely on manual process of adding or
removing channels and require direct intervention from distributors.
- Lack of awareness of TRAI’s channel selector app: Around 75% consumers are unaware
of the ‘channel selector app’ launched by TRAI in June 2020 to enhance consumer choice. This
reinforces the need to improve efforts at capacity building of consumers on a priority basis.
- Consumers want better quality of service (QoS) at the last-mile: TRAI introduced QoS
Regulations in 2017 that mandate itemized billing, fast and convenience grievance redressal, and
assistance with Customer Premises Equipment. However, consumers believe that there is scope for
improvement on these parameters. 1 in 5 consumers perceive decline in grievance redressal,
assistance with Set Top Boxes (STBs), freedom to choose channels they want to watch, and an
increase in number of advertisements. In fact, 3 out of 10 consumers claim to have never received
an itemised bill. These are mandatory under the extant regulatory framework (See FAQs). Non-
compliance with this framework is indicative of inadequate enforcement at the last-mile of
Mr. Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International shared, “The study surveyed over
10,000 subjects across the country to capture the perception of TV consumers with respect to the
choice they enjoy when it comes to channel selection and the satisfaction levels with the current
choice available. The major findings indicate that there are gaps in the effective exercise of
consumer choice as well as channel selection. Efforts to enhance consumer awareness around
their rights as well as methods of channel selection are imperative. However, any further regulatory
intervention should follow a detailed cost-benefit analysis.”
The report deduces that Indian consumers have high expectations from their TV subscriptions and
bundles, and there is room for consumer welfare to grow if the next wave of regulatory reforms can
narrow focus on how to enable effective consumer choice. The mismatch between consumer
preferences and channel subscriptions could be minimised if: (a) there are many more efforts at
raising consumer awareness (e.g. capacity building through regional consumer cells), and (b)
consumers have greater say in deciding their bouquets.
To ensure that subscriptions reflect consumer choice, the charges for the ‘Network Capacity Fee’
(NCF – see FAQs), could be reviewed. Alternatively, a Network Access Fee (NAF) on a per channel
basis could be considered in place of a flat charge for NCF. By this method, distributors could be
incentivised for aiding consumers by providing suitable channels and bouquets of their individual
choice. The regulator could also support credible consumer organisations in generating awareness,
building capacity, and acting as watchdogs for compliance with QoS, convenience in channel
selection availability, quality of content, as well as viewing experience and quality of service.
Mr. T.V. Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum stated, “This independent and
operator neutral study is perhaps the first of its kind in India, conducted across such a wide and
diverse sample size and spread. There is also no evidence-based study till this, which captures the
consumers’ perspective and level of satisfaction on TV viewership. In this regard, the study
assumes great significance and relevance, especially in the present times, when the general notion
is that Digital media & content is impacting the popularity of the legacy and linear TV. The report
indicates possible areas for regulatory & policy focus to help in overall improvement of quality of
services and consumer satisfaction.”
The key findings of the study present an interesting understanding of the attributes of Value, Quality
and Overall Satisfaction of TV consumers. Last-mile service providers/Distribution Platform
Operators remain the consumer’s primary point of contact for TV subscriptions and it is necessary to
ensure QoS requirements and prioritise transparency mandates.
About Broadband India Forum (BIF)
BIF functions as an independent policy forum and knowledge-based think-tank that works for the development and
enhancement of the entire broadband ecosystem in a holistic, technology-neutral and service-neutral manner. BIF has
established itself as a credible and effective voice to help propel the nation towards achieving the ambitious vision of
creating a Digital India. To achieve this, BIF works to promote the rapid development of policies, so as to facilitate
affordable and high-speed ubiquitous broadband throughout the country.
About Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International)
CUTS International is an independent, non-profit, consumer facing, research, advocacy and capacity building
organisation. In pursuit of vision of consumer sovereignity, it works to promote optimal regulation, good governance, and
rules based trade, across sectors. During its four decades of existence, CUTS has specialised in making evidence based
interventions, increasingly on interactions between citizens, technology and digitalisation. Headquartered in India, CUTS
has presence in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Vietnam, Switzerland and the United States of America.
For further information, please contact:
Kaustuv Sircar – email@example.com/+91-9999326911/+91-7003157047
Sidharth Narayan – firstname.lastname@example.org/+91-9810064675
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the connection between the NTO which is often cited in the press, and the NRF?
The TRAI regulates three aspects of TV distribution – tariff, interconnection, and quality of service. The New
Regulatory Framework (NRF) includes the 2017 Tariff Order, 2017 Interconnection Regulations, and the 2017
Quality of Service Regulations. The NTO or New Tariff Order refers to the 2017 Tariff Order and the NRF
includes all three regulations the TRAI notified in 2017.
- What is the TRAI’s New Regulatory Framework?
The TRAI implemented the New Regulatory Framework (NRF) in February 2019. This overhauled the entire
regulatory regime for TV. TRAI brought out a Consultation Paper after six months seeking to amend key
provisions of the NRF. These amendments were notified on 1 st January 2020.
- Why is the NRF relevant today?
Now, the TRAI has reopened consultation on some provisions in the NRF, following stakeholder feedback that
implementation of the amended NRF could lead to large-scale disruptions. The TRAI received consultation
responses and have uploaded the same on their website.
- What are some of the key provisions of the NRF?
Some of the key provisions of the NRF that are relevant to this survey are:
NCF of Basic channel bouquet: Up to INR 130 (+ 18% GST) as network capacity fee for 200 standard
definition channels. Subject to the availability of capacity on network, each distributor shall offer additional
capacity to a subscriber subject to a maximum of INR 160 (+18% GST).
A distributor of television channels shall not increase the network capacity fee for a period of six months
from the date of such notification.
Cap on channel prices in a bouquet: A bouquet of pay channels cannot contain a pay channel who’s a la
carte MRP is greater than INR 12. If a channel has an MRP greater than INR 12, it cannot be part of a
Cap on bouquet discounts: TRAI prescribed a maximum discount of 15% that a broadcaster could offer on
a bouquet of channels. The Madras High Court struck down this provision [3(3) of the 2017 Tariff Order]
because it was arbitrary and unenforceable. In the 2020 Amendments, TRAI reintroduced a cap on
bouquet discounts. The sum of the MRP of a-la-carte channels in a bouquet could not exceed 1.5 times
the MRP of the bouquet was one condition. The second condition said that the MRP of any one channel in
a bouquet shall not exceed more than three times the MRP of a pay channel of that bouquet. The Bombay
High Court struck down the second condition in June 2021.
QOS Regulations: QoS Regulations form one part of the NRF and includes obligations that distributors
must follow to ensure a standard quality of service to all consumers. Among other things, it includes
mandates for timely redressal of grievances, detailed break-up of monthly bills, technological standards
for Set-Top-Boxes and timely installation and repair of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE).
- How are channel bouquets offered to consumers?
Broadcasters produce their own content or purchase content from producers. They subsequently provide TV
channels as a-la-carte and bouquets to distributors. Distributors aggregate channels and channel bouquets
from all broadcasters and offer the same to consumers, along with bouquets curated by the distributor.