Commercial establishments which specifically charge clients on account of showing TV programmes will now have to pay tariff according to terms mutually agreed with the broadcaster.
In an order notified by it, broadcasting regulator Trai, however, held that commercial establishments which do not specifically charge customers on account of showing TV programmes will be treated like ordinary subscribers and will pay on per television set basis.
The Trai order also held that in all cases the commercial subscriber will obtain TV services only from a distribution platform operator like a Multi System Operator (MSO), Direct to Home (DTH), cable, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) or Headend in the Sky (HITS) operators.
The Trai order comes after the Supreme Court had asked it to examine the issue.
In an explanatory memorandum released along with the notification Trai said that as directed by the Supreme Court in its April 16 judgement, it had initiated a consultation process, as part of a 'de novo' exercise and issued a consultation paper on July 11 seeking comments and views of the stakeholders.
Following the consultations, Trai issued its tariff order.
The issue related to differential charges for commercial subscribers has been a contentious one as stakeholders like some broadcasters have argued that entities which provide cable TV services to their clients should be charged different rates. Others have opposed this view.
In the explanatory memorandum released by it, Trai said that it was of the view that in the rates of TV services, there should be no differentiation between an ordinary subscriber and a commercial subscriber i.e. in both the cases, the charges should be the same and on per TV set basis.
It, however, added that in case the commercial establishment specifically charges extra to its clients or visitors on account of viewing of channels at its premises, there is a case for broadcasters to have a share in such revenue of the commercial establishment.
Therefore, where the commercial establishment is earning extra revenue from its clients specifically on account of providing TV services, the rates should be based on mutual negotiations between the broadcaster and the commercial subscriber, Trai said in the memorandum.