July 24, 2006, Business Standard
New Delhi, India

Bundling of TV channels in bouquets should be banned in the CAS regime, and every channel should carry a maximum retail price, consumer organization Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has said.

“By introducing the concept of bouquet, we are moving away from the very rationale of introducing CAS, which seeks to provide consumers with a tool to choose individual channels”, CUTS said. It said the introducing of bouquet system will result in several complexities.

“ First, the maximum allowable discount has to be determined to ensure that bundling of channels through bouquets does not nullify the individual choice,” CUTS said. In such a scenario, broadcast regulator TRAI would need to determine an “acceptable” maximum allowable discount, it added.

On July 20, Delhi High Court had directed the Centre to implement CAS in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai before December 31. “ To avoid any unrealistic fixing of individual price of popular pay channels, there should be a maximum retail price for pay channels and price should be determined on the basis of a channel’s carriage cost.” CUTS said in a statement.