Financial Express, August 03, 2022
70% of the consumers surveyed felt that television offers a value-for-money proposition, as compared to a mere 27% in the case of digital/OTT platforms and barely 3% in the case of TV apps, according to a report released by Broadband India Forum (BIF) and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS International). The report also found that 54% of consumers surveyed avail TV channels via bouquets/packages and another 35% do so via a combination of bouquets and individual channels. With an effective total of 89% of the consumers surveyed preferring bouquets, they become an overwhelmingly -preferred choice.
The study surveyed over 10,000 subjects across the country to capture the perception of TV consumers with respect to the choice they enjoy when it comes to channel selection and the satisfaction levels with the current choice available, Pradeep S Mehta, secretary general, CUTS International, said. “The major findings indicate that there are gaps in the effective exercise of consumer choice as well as channel selection. Efforts to enhance consumer awareness around their rights as well as methods of channel selection are imperative. However, any further regulatory intervention should follow a detailed cost-benefit analysis,” he added.
According to the report, consumers want more from their subscriptions, even though they prefer bouquets. Nearly 40% consumers feel their subscriptions cater to the viewing needs of the entire family. As for pricing, most consumers are subscribed to the basic package offered by the distributors which provide between 100-200 channels. The average charges paid by the consumers are between Rs 200 and Rs 400 for their subscriptions, on a monthly basis.
Interestingly, 31% of surveyed consumers claimed that they were unaware of the possibility of adding/removing TV channels from their subscription packages, 51% are not inclined towards adding/removing channels themselves, and only 43% of those who add/remove TV channels found the process convenient. A majority of consumers (60%) rely on manual processes of adding or removing channels and require direct intervention from distributors.
Furthermore, as per the report, around 75% consumers are unaware of the ‘channel selector app’ launched by TRAI in June 2020 to enhance consumer choice. This reinforces the need to improve efforts at capacity building of consumers on a priority basis.
The report deduces that Indian consumers have high expectations from their TV subscriptions and bundles, and there is room for consumer welfare to grow if the next wave of regulatory reforms can narrow focus on how to enable effective consumer choice. The mismatch between consumer preferences and channel subscriptions could be minimised if: (a) there are many more efforts at raising consumer awareness (e.g. capacity building through regional consumer cells), and (b) consumers have greater say in deciding their bouquets.
For TV Ramachandran, president, Broadband India Forum, the study assumes great significance and relevance, especially in the present times, when the general notion is that digital media and content is impacting the popularity of the legacy and linear TV. “The report indicates possible areas for regulatory and policy focus to help in overall improvement of quality of services and consumer satisfaction,” he stated.
The key findings of the study present an interesting understanding of the attributes of value, quality and overall satisfaction of TV consumers. Last-mile service providers/distribution platform operators remain the consumer’s primary point of contact for TV subscriptions and it is necessary to ensure QoS requirements and prioritise transparency mandates.
The survey had a sample size of over 10,000 TV consumers spread over diverse age, income, milieu and gender groups and aims to bring into the light interesting findings which go to strengthen the importance and relevance of TV even in today’s day and age when digital/OTT media and apps are proliferating rapidly.
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