Direct to home (DTH) television service providers are still fine-tuning the subscription packages, even a few months after the implementation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s (TRAI) New Tariff Order for cable and DTH subscriptions, earlier this year. Leading DTH operator Tata Sky is set to make a major change to its multi-TV subscription policy, which is expected to be implemented next month.
As part of the new multi-TV policy, Tata Sky subscribers will get the flexibility of selecting the same set of channels across all the set top boxes (STBs) they own for different TVs at home, or choosing different set of channels for each STB. This is a big change from the policy that was in place thus far, that did not allow this flexibility for different STBs in the same household. Till now, subscribers who had multiple STBs registered under the same subscriber ID had to choose their preferred channels for the primary STB, and those same channels would also be available on the second, third (and so on) STBs. Usually, these multi-TV boxes were charged with some discounts.
But this meant that you were limited in terms of the channel variety on different STBs, and they didn’t always match with the viewing preferences of different family members. But Tata Sky’s new policy means each STB can now also have its own specially curated channel subscription, with its own individual subscription charge, and will not necessarily be linked with the channel selection or the pricing of the primary STB.
So far, the pricing of the multi-tv connections is dependent on the package pricing of the primary connection. For instance, if the channel and bouquet selections on your primary Tata Sky STB cost up to Rs 200 per month, you pay Rs 200 per month for the secondary connection as well. However, the discounted pricing kicks in if you have higher value packs on the primary connection. For instance, if your primary connection subscription totals to Rs 300 per month, you pay Rs 250 for the secondary connection. If the primary subscription totals Rs 400 per month, you pay Rs 300 for the secondary connection.
As part of the new guidelines, TRAI set a price ceiling on the pricing of individual channels and a bouquet of channels, among other measures intended to bring down the television subscription bill for consumers. DTH companies including Tata Sky, Dish TV, D2H and Airtel Digital TV have been regularly making changes to the subscription and multi-tv policies for their consumers. These new guidelines come at a time when traditional TV subscriptions are under threat from video streaming platforms, including the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video, Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, Zee5 and the upcoming Disney+ and Apple TV+ streaming services.