TRAI assures to withdraw orders on landing page on TV channels issue

As per reports, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has assured the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) of withdrawing its November 2017 order of banning the use of the landing page for any other activity other than promotion of a distribution platform. TRAI has assured to take back the order within two weeks and the issue will be discussed with the stakeholders without any further move on the matter.

In industry parlance, the landing channel or the landing page refers to the Logical Channel Number (LCN) which is displayed first when the Set Top Box (STB) is switched on. As per the practice, this channel is available for display on all the STBs connected to the network of a distributor. Such channels may be available to all customers irrespective of the choice and whether it is Pay or Free to Air channel.

TRAI’s order was countered by various broadcasters and MSOs as they believed that appropriate process wasn’t followed by TRAI before issuing the directive. The directive had come in the wake of a group of broadcasters alleging another broadcaster of manipulating the audience rating by using the boot up page.

TRAI had already informed TDSAT of a consultation paper issued by them in April 2018 to discuss the issue with the stakeholders. TDSAT had also pointed that once TRAI withdraws its order; all the petitions from the broadcasters become unprofitable.

The next date for hearing is 7 May 2018.

Meanwhile, as reported here, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) gave a separate order in April 2018 to BARC India to refrain from using landing page data from any channel to be included in their audience data.

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