CASBAA Tells Law Commission: India Would be Well Advised to Avoid Heavy-Handed Regulation

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Several months ago, the Law Commission of India launched a consultation on media law which is concluding now. Among other things, thee LCI is considering issues of media ownership and competition – which have by no means been settled by recent TRAI recommendations on the subject. CASBAA has urged a light touch, with close reliance on general competition law. CASBAA also addressed the question of how best to regulate media content, urging continued reliance on India's self-regulatory bodies, warning that "Overly rigid content regulation, as seen in some other countries, will induce a massive shift in consumer demand for unregulated content viewed via the internet."

Read full article here


No need for commercial TV rates to be regulated, CASBAA says

Friday, 04 July 2014

CASBAA stressed to Indian regulators that the theory of rate regulation was to protect individual consumers who have limited market power, not commercial customers with many different choices of TV suppliers. TRAI, CASBAA urged, should "allow the conditions of program supply to commercial premises to be negotiated between content aggregators, distribution platforms, and owners of commercial premises."

Read full submission here


CASBAA Applauds Liberalization of Investment Controls in India

Monday, 12 August 2013

CASBAA responded positively to proposals by India's TRAI to liberalize foreign investment controls on pay-TV network operators. In keeping with other liberalizations in India recently, TRAI proposed allowing up to 100% foreign investment on pay-TV companies, to parallel changes in process for telecom companies. In a submission, CASBAA "welcomed and supported" the TRAI proposal that investment in the "carriage" sectors be increased to 100% across the board. Download the submission paper here


No need for duplicate regulation of media ownership, CASBAA tells TRAI

Thursday, 11 April 2013

TRAI Consultation -- Indian Media Ownership

CASBAA made a detailed submission to India's TRAI on proposed restraints on media ownership. CASBAA, backed by an authoritative report on international precedents from London consulting firm FTI Consultants, told TRAI that such rules were high-risk, and poor decisions now would warp the structure and development of India's media industry for decades to come. Therefore, the potential risks and benefits of policy choices had to be carefully assessed – which had yet to be done in India. The consultants at FTI warned that in the absence of adequate analysis of potential policy impacts "there is a significant risk that India could embark on a regulation that is not fit for purpose and based on outdated market research. Far from correcting a market failure that has not been demonstrated, the result could be significant damage to markets."

Other main points of the CASBAA submission:
The TRAI consultation paper was a solution in search of a problem – it jumped immediately into asking about details of solutions, without setting forth the nature of the issue which needed resolution. It never considered a range of possible approaches including "no change." As such, CASBAA commented "we do not find the approach in this paper to represent an acceptable base for proceeding with a major regulatory intervention."

The Consultation Paper was completely backward-looking; it took no account of the massive growth in online consumption of news and other media even in the four years since TRAI had last taken up this issue. Convergence is the future of the media industry, and regulations considered now must address convergence.

The TRAI proposals made no mention of the comprehensive competition policy rules administered by the Competition Council of India. "Indian law gives the CCI ample authority over this sector (and all others) and no case has been made that the media sector requires additional or different regulation," said CASBAA.

The result of international considerations of media plurality issues, including an exhaustive consultation process by Ofcom in the UK, has tended to the conclusion that media plurality assessments must be based on a full view incorporating many measures. "Mechanistic" bars to ownership would risk stifling investment at a time when the media sector is vibrant and changing.

Discussion in the TRAI paper of a number of the international precedents was skewed. For example, the US FCC, having relied on "diversity indexes" to try to calculate plurality, moved away from these in 2006 stating it had concluded such an index "is an inaccurate tool for measuring diversity". FTI Consultants observed that "the international media regulatory landscape as it affects ownership and plurality is far more diverse and complex than the selected examples presented by TRAI."

India already has policies in place (e.g. "must provide") to prevent vertical restraints that affect competition and India needs the efficiencies and economic benefits to consumers than can flow from vertical investments. TRAI has not presented a case justifying additional general restraints against vertical integration.

See the CASBAA complete submission here

See the Report by FTI Consulting here


Don’t Rush to Regulate, CASBAA Tell TRAI

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Proposals to reduce the allowed advertisements on TV channels in India were premature and not carefully considered, CASBAA told the TRAI in a submission.   Before considering any action, the government should wait to see if planned cable digitization really has the desired effects on subscription revenues to channels.   And even then, CASBAA said, why shouldn’t India use the self-regulation model, instead of heavy-handed government intervention?   
Download the full submission here.


Indian Cable Digitization

Monday, 16 January 2012

CASBAA Urges Rate Decontrol, Strong IP Measures --  In a filing to India’s TRAI, CASBAA maintained that there is substantial retail pay-TV competition in India that will restrain tariffs, and urged TRAI to forbear from regulating retail tariffs now and in the future.   TRAI had set the right course with its July 2010 tariff order refraining from regulating retail rates of addressable systems (cable as well as DTH), CASBAA said, and it should stay the course.   CASBAA also said that revised “interconnection” regulations governing relations between content providers and pay-TV platforms should make it clear that all players should cooperate in active antipiracy programs.

See the complete submission here.

See submissions by CASBAA member companies here.


CASBAA urges India: Digitize more and regulate less

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

In a submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), CASBAA told the TRAI it should move aggressively to stimulate digitization of the Indian cable TV market, to solve a host of problems including non-transparency and capacity limits. Meanwhile, TRAI should not jump to the conclusion that comprehensive rate regulation is required in India. Recent court decisions have mandated that the market be examined for evidence of market failure, not that heavy regulation should be continued. CASBAA notes that “growing, energetic and consumer-friendly competition” now characterizes the Indian pay-TV market.

Full Article


CASBAA's second submission to TRAI on channel cap

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

CASBAA advised the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that no cap on the number of TV channels in India is necessary or advisable. Satellite spectrum is not a realistic constraint, with room in the C-band for more than 10,000 standard TV channels on satellites already visible from India. India’s government should set clear, transparent qualification standards for companies wishing to launch TV channels, but then let the market decide how many succeed.

Full Article


European Expert compares Economic Regulation in Europe and India

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Speaking at a recent CASBAA seminar in India, a European legal expert and former international affairs chief at the UK Competition Authority, outlined differences in European and Indian approaches to regulation in the pay-TV industry. Andrea Appella, now Director of Legal, Competition and Regulatory Affairs at News Corp in London, advised Indian regulators to adopt a lighter touch, avoiding “ex ante” regulation except where there was demonstrable market dysfunctionality that could not be cured by recourse to standard competition law. To read Mr. Appella’s full presentation click here.

Full Article


CASBAA submits to TRAI on FDI and Channel Caps

Monday, 02 November 2009

CASBAA wrote to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, urging TRAI to maintain its support for equalizing foreign investment limits for all pay-TV operators at the 74% level already applicable to IPTV/telecom firms. CASBAA also suggested that an artificial “cap” on the number of Indian TV channels was a bad idea. See the whole submission here.

Full Article


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