Consumer Friendly Cable TV System
(Survey Results on Cable TV in India)

Executive Summary of Survey Results

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) has been working on issues relating to the Cable TV industry for quite some time. This resulted in its nomination to the Conditional Access System (CAS) Implementation Committee constituted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

In 2003, results of an all India survey done by CUTS on cable TV industry were published. The survey was done to gauge level of consumer awareness on cable television in the country. The study highlighted the following issues:

With this background, CUTS undertook a second survey on Cable TV in India, which comprises of research and field surveys in the four metros where CAS was to be implemented. The survey was done by CUTS in Delhi and Kolkata, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) in Chennai, and Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) in Mumbai. The project received funding under the consumer welfare fund of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India.

Initially the survey aimed at assessing consumer’s perception on the operational efficiency of CAS and to assess whether CAS has helped to remove or at least reduce the inefficiencies and inequities faced in the past. However, since CAS has remained a non-starter, except in Chennai and parts of Delhi, the survey was done in four metros to:

The main findings are:

Cable TV: Results of Phase I Survey (2003)

Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2002 has now become an Act. Before the Bill was passed, CUTS, conducted an all India survey to find out primary consumer concerns in the country vis-à-vis cable TV industry and its services.

The objectives of this survey were:

The survey was conducted by way of questionnaires during December 2002 to March 2003. About 2500 filled in questionnaires were received from cities all over the country: New Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai. The responses provided a fairly good idea about common problems being faced by cable TV subscribers in the country.

Following is an analysis of these questionnaires:

1) No. of channels provided by Cable Operators:

2) No. of channels viewed:

Thus, only a handful of channels are viewed by most of the consumers as against the total number of channels broadcasted. Favourite channels differ region-wise but are mostly same in a particular region and amount to merely 2-3 channels per family on an average.

3) Services provided by Cable Operators:

4) Monthly subscription charges:

5) Basis of payment:

Most consumers pay less than Rs.300 as subscription charges

Also consumers pay as low as Rs.200 quarterly. But most of these consumers are in small areas and have black and white television sets

In most cases, payment is made on monthly basis

6) Increase in service charges:

7) Money receipts:

8) Time taken to rectify complaints:

9)  Complaint docket no. given: Complaint docket number is not given most of the time. In fact, most consumers themselves don’t ask for it.

10) Cable boys having identity cards/uniforms:

11) Awareness about Set-top Boxes: An amazing figure of 70% were unaware of the concept of set-top boxes, while 27% were aware.

12) Option to change the cable operator: 70% did not have an option to change their cable operator while 28% did.

General Comments

Cable TV: Results of Phase II Survey (2004)

The survey was conducted in four metropolitan cities of India: Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai during March-May, 2004. The survey was conducted by sending questionnaire to randomly selected households. This was complemented by personally interviewing some of the respondents. A total of 1506 persons were surveyed, of which: 282 were from Delhi, 392 from Kolkata, 434 from Mumbai, and 398 from Chennai.

I. Demographics

1.1 Respondents by Occupation (Table 1)

In terms of the four metros:

Table 1. Respondents by Occupation

Occupation

No. of Respondents

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Student

124

1

80

42

247

16%

Service

107

220

295

145

767

51%

Business

24

98

5

63

190

13%

House Wife

8

32

17

52

109

7%

Self Employed

10

0

9

68

87

6%

Retired

5

40

18

22

85

6%

Not Responded

4

1

10

6

21

1%

Total

282

392

434

398

1506

100%

1.2 Size of the Family (Table 2)

Table 2. Size of the Family

Members

Average Number of Members

Overall Average

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Adults (>20 years)

3.4

3.5

2.9

2.9

3.1

Teenagers (13-19 years)

0.8

0.8

1.0

0.7

0.8

Children (upto 12 years)

0.5

0.7

0.8

0.3

0.6

Average size of the family

4.6

4.9

4.7

3.9

4.5

1.3 Number of T.V. sets in the house (Table 3)

Table 3. Respondents by No. of TV Sets Owned

T.V. Sets

No. of Respondents

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

One

157

298

387

340

1182

78%

Two

101

67

35

48

251

17%

Three

16

2

1

6

25

2%

No Response

8

25

11

4

48

3%

Total

282

392

434

398

1506

100%

 

 

II. Cable T.V. Scenario in the Four Metros

2.1 No. of channels received (Table 4)

 

Table 4. Respondents by Number of Channels Received

No. of Channels received

No. of respondents

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

< 30

49

5

40

16

110

7%

30-50

130

31

78

76

315

21%

50-80

76

277

125

261

739

49%

80 & above

25

79

183

45

332

22%

Total Responded

280

392

426

398

1496

 

 

2.2 No. of channels watched (Table 5)

Table 5. Respondents by Number of Channels Watched

No. of Channels watched

No. of Respondents

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

1-5

76

16

98

101

291

19%

5-10

111

46

217

122

496

33%

10-15

72

175

90

118

455

30%

15 & above

21

155

26

57

259

17%

Total Responded

280

392

431

398

1501

 

 

Channels watched vis-à-vis channels received (Table 6)

Table 6. Respondents by Channels Received vis-à-vis Channels Watched

All 4 Metros

Respondents by no. of channels watched

Total

% watching less than 15 channels

Respondents by No. of Channels received

1-5

5-10

10-15

15 & above

< 30

49

36

18

7

110

94%

30-50

95

120

70

30

315

90%

50-80

97

189

317

136

739

82%

80 & above

49

149

48

86

332

74%

Total

290

494

453

259

1496

83%

 

Table 7. Metro-wise Status of Channels Received vis-à-vis Channels Watched

Metro

% of subscribers receiving more than 50 channels

% of subscribers receiving more than 50 channels who watch less than 15 channels

% of all subscribers who watch less than 15 channels

Delhi

36%

90%

92%

Kolkata

91%

58%

60%

Mumbai

71%

94%

93%

Chennai

77%

86%

86%

All 4 Metros

71%

79%

83%

2.3 Awareness about disputes (Table 8)

Table 8. Respondents by Awareness of disputes between cable operators

Response

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Yes

68

146

113

52

379

26%

No

211

240

302

343

1096

74%

Total Responded

279

386

415

395

1475

 

 

 

2.4 Option to change cable operators (Table 9)

Majority of subscribers (seven out of ten who responded) do not have an option to change their cable operator.

Table 9. Respondents by Option to Change Cable Operator

Response

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

Percentage

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Yes

143

2

104

119

368

28%

No

134

351

191

260

936

72%

Total Responded

277

353

295

379

1304

 

% No

48%

99%

65%

69%

72%

 
 

There is some variation across metros with respect to choice available with consumers in terms of changing their cable operator:

Thus, Delhi and Kolkata are at the two extremes in terms of consumers’ ability to change cable operators.

2.5 Monthly Cable TV Subscription Charges (Table 10)

Table 10. Monthly Subscription Charge by No. of TV Sets Owned

All 4 Metros

Respondents by No. of TV Sets Owned

Total

%

Monthly Subscription Charge

One

Two

Three

< 100

5

0

0

5

0.3%

100-150

65

12

3

80

5.6%

150-200

455

90

4

549

38.2%

200-250

294

44

3

341

23.7%

250-300

230

49

6

285

19.8%

300-350

80

28

4

112

7.8%

350 & above

39

24

4

67

4.7%

Total Respondents

1168

247

24

1439

 

Avg. subscription charges

210

226

238

213

 

In case of the four metros (Table 11):

 

Table 11. Monthly Subscription Charge by Metros

Monthly subscription Charge

Percent of respondents by metros for each subscription category

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

All 4 Metros

< 100

0%

0%

0%

1%

0%

100-150

5%

10%

1%

7%

6%

150-200

6%

79%

11%

50%

38%

200-250

23%

10%

30%

31%

24%

250-300

31%

0%

39%

10%

20%

300-350

21%

1%

12%

1%

8%

350 & above

14%

0%

7%

0%

5%

 

Monthly subscription charges vis-à-vis channels received (Table 12)

There is no evidence of an increase in average monthly subscription charges with the provision of more channels i.e. a consumer who receives more channels, on an average, does not pay a higher subscription charge. This is also true for each metro.

Table 12. Monthly Subscription Charge vis-à-vis Channels Received

Channel received

Average Monthly Subscription Charges

Delhi

Mumbai

Kolkata

Chennai

All 4 Metros

< 30

254

255

140

144

232

30 – 50

261

256

172

181

232

50 – 80

247

238

178

191

200

80 & above

253

249

166

176

219

2.6 Frequency of increase in Cable TV subscription charges (Table 13)

Table 13. Respondents by Frequency of hike in Monthly Subscription

Frequency level

No. of Respondents

Delhi

Mumbai

Kolkata

Chennai

All 4 Metros

Very Frequent (VF) or once in 6 months

53

6

144

125

328

Medium Frequency (MF) or once in a year

89

234

115

126

564

Low Frequency (LF) or once in more than a year

73

25

94

43

235

Total Respondents

215

265

353

294

1127

 

Is inability to change cable operator accompanied by a frequent hike in cable subscription rates (Table 14)?

Table 14. Option to Change Cable Operator vis-à-vis Frequency of hike

Option to change Cable Operator

No. of respondents by frequency of hike in subscription charges

Total

% where increase at least once in last one year

Low frequency

Once in a year

Once in six months

Yes

95

77

99

271

65%

No

111

424

155

690

84%

Total

206

501

254

961

79%

% of No

54%

85%

61%

72%

 

This clearly indicates the need for regulating prices, especially when there is a monopoly of cable operator at the local level.

2.7 Improvements in the present cable TV system

 

III. Conditional Access System (CAS)

3.1  Most respondents (96%) had heard of CAS, which is evident across all metros     (Table 15).

Table 15. Respondents by Knowledge of CAS

Knowledge of CAS

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Yes

272

386

422

362

1442

96%

No

10

6

12

36

64

4%

Total

282

392

434

398

1506

 

% of Yes

96%

98%

97%

91%

   

3.2  However, majority of respondents in all four metros (63%) are not in favour of accepting CAS (Table 16). Key reasons cited for not accepting CAS are:

Table 16. Respondents by preference for/against CAS

Response on Favouring CAS

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Yes

77

73

261

140

551

37%

No

205

319

170

258

952

63%

Total

282

392

431

398

1503

 

% of No

73%

81%

39%

65%

63%

 
 

However, in Mumbai, majority of consumers (61%) are in favour of accepting CAS and the main reasons advanced are:

Correlation between monthly subscription charges and acceptance of CAS (Tables 17 & 18)

Given that most respondents have knowledge of CAS and majority of them are not in favour of accepting CAS, we attempt to find out:

(i)  relation between monthly subscription currently paid by households and their response of not favouring CAS; and

(ii)  extent to which households’ perception of monthly rent post-CAS is a reason for their not favouring CAS

Table 17. Percentage of Respondents who do not favour CAS vis-à-vis monthly charges currently paid

Monthly subscription charge

Percent of respondents with knowledge of CAS, who do not favour CAS

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

All 4 Metros

< 100

100%

-

-

75%

80%

100-150

45%

90%

67%

66%

74%

150-200

88%

79%

57%

63%

72%

200-250

80%

91%

42%

53%

58%

250-300

72%

100%

30%

79%

50%

300-350

67%

50%

41%

100%

55%

350 & above

68%

100%

48%

50%

60%

Total

72%

81%

39%

62%

63%

Table 18. Percentage of Respondents who give Post-CAS Monthly Rent as Reason for not accepting CAS

Metro

% of respondents with knowledge of CAS, who do not favour CAS and give post-CAS expected hike in monthly subscription as reason for not favouring CAS

Delhi

47%

Kolkata

58%

Mumbai*

85%*

Chennai

37%

All 4 Metros

52%

* Since majority of respondents in Mumbai are willing to accept CAS, the figure represents % of respondents with knowledge of CAS, who favour CAS and give post-CAS expected fall in monthly subscription as reason for accepting CAS

3.3 What monthly bill would you prefer, if CAS is implemented (Table 19):

Table 19. Respondents by Preference for monthly bill post-CAS

Monthly bill post-CAS

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

% of all respondents

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Do not want any increase

238

279

201

276

994

81%

Agree to pay more

13

9

168

49

239

19%

Total respondents

251

288

369

325

1233

 

% do not want any increase

95%

97%

54%

85%

   

3.4 If advertisements were banned, how much more would you pay (Table 20)

Table 20. Response on Advertisements during TV programmes

Response on Advertisements

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

%

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Don't Mind ads

214

328

179

210

931

67%

Willing to pay more if ads banned from programmes

33

63

228

133

457

33%

Total

247

391

407

343

1388

 

 

3.5 Mode of procuring set-top box (Table 21)

Table 21. Respondents by mode of procuring set-top box

 Preference for set-top box

No. of respondents by Metro

Total

%

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

Prefer to Rent

34

17

43

124

218

25%

Prefer Hire Purchase

23

28

30

16

97

11%

Prefer to Buy

46

238

197

93

574

65%

Total

103

283

270

233

889

 

3.6 Cost Range for set-top box (Table 22)

Table 22. Average price vis-à-vis mode of procuring set-top box

Preference for

set-top box

Average price

Delhi

Kolkata

Mumbai

Chennai

All 4 Metros

If Rented

117

109

53

130

102

If on Hire Purchase

232

144

142

150

167

If Bought

1587

1828

1906

2868

2047

Conclusions

Consumer Unity & Trust Society
D-217 Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302016
Phone: +91.141.228 2821
Fax: +91.141.228 2485
Email: cuts@cuts.org
Website: http://www.cuts-international.org/