The days of paying for cable television channels you don’t watch are over. Now you pay for only what you watch.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on Thursday issued a notice to broadcasters to formally implement the “pick-and-pay” option for Nepali television viewers.
Like selecting dishes from a menu in a restaurant, the à la carte system allows viewers to pick the channels they want to watch and pay for them. This contrasts with the current plan where viewers get a whole bunch of channels they never watch along with their favourites, and are charged for all.
The government has also fixed the minimum monthly fee for cable television at Rs250 per month per customer.
Netra Prasad Subedi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, says the ministry has published the notice and also fixed the maximum rate of different TV channels.
“Cable operators have to submit a proposal of fees to the ministry by remaining within the rate fixed by the government,” he said.
“The à la carte model is being implemented for the first time in Nepal, and this will benefit customers as they pay for only the TV channels they like,” said Subedi.
The model is in use in India, the United States and Canada.
“The ministry has fixed the minimum price of TV channels at Rs250 per month as a carrying cost,” said Subedi. “We have fixed the minimum and maximum rates of TV channels after discussing the matter with cable TV operators.”
He said that regular inspections would be carried out to make sure whether the operators are abiding by the new rule.
TV channels being broadcast under Star India will cost Rs65 per month per customer. Similarly, channels broadcast under Sony Pictures Network India will cost Rs65 per month per customer.
All the channels broadcasted under Indiacast Media Distribution and Zee Entertainment Enterprises will cost Rs25 per month per customer each respectively.
Channels broadcasted under Bennet Coleman and Company will cost Rs3 per month per customer, those under Discovery Network Asia Pacific will cost Rs20 per month per customer, and those under BBC Studio Distribution will cost Rs2 per month.
All the channels broadcasted under Home Box Office (Singapore) will cost Rs15 per customer per month.
Pay TV is a subscription premium or individual television service usually provided by multichannel television providers. However, if the customer prefers to watch a few channels of Star India and BBC Studio Distribution, they need to pay for both.
Currently, TV channels are being broadcasted through direct-to-home, multiple-system operators, multichannel multipoint distribution services, internet protocol television, and digital terrestrial television, among others, in Nepal.
The new rule will take at least a month to be implemented, Nepali broadcasters say.
“First, we will negotiate with Indian TV channels like Star, ZEE and others for prices by informing them about the fees fixed by the government,” said Sudhir Parajuli, president of the Federation of Nepal Cable Television Associations.
“The Indian TV channels might introduce new packages by remaining within the price range fixed by the government,” he said. “Currently, the fees for cable television channels are being fixed unscientifically.”
Nepali cable TV operators are currently charging their customers Rs400 to Rs500 per month.
According to the federation, there are a total of eight cable TV operators including internet TV providers in Nepal. There are around 110 Nepali channels and 98 foreign channels being broadcasted in Nepal with around 1.5 million viewers who have renewed their subscriptions.
Source : The Kathmandu Post