ETBrandEquity, August 03, 2022
TV is the most preferred mode of video content consumption. It is worth noting that 70 per cent of the consumers surveyed for a report felt that television offers a value-for-money proposition, as compared to mere 27 per cent in the case of digital and OTT platforms and barely three per cent in the case of TV apps.
Broadband India Forum (BIF) and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS International) has released a report based on a nation-wide survey of over 10,000 television consumers to gauge consumer perception with respect to the choice enjoyed for TV channel selection and overall satisfaction.
The survey was conducted for the first time in India keeping the consumer perception in mind – for a sample size of over 10,000 TV consumers spread over diverse age, income, milieu and gender groups.
The study brings to light some interesting findings which go to strengthen the importance and relevance of TV even in today’s day and age when digital and OTT media and apps are proliferating rapidly.
“Consumers prefer bouquets”, stated the report. It said that 54 per cent of consumers surveyed avail of TV channels via bouquets and packages and another 35 per cent do so via a combination of bouquets and individual channels. With an effective total of 89 per cent of the consumers surveyed preferring bouquets, they become an overwhelmingly-preferred choice.
For the mismatch between consumer preferences and channel subscriptions, the report suggested that it 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.
The report also mentioned that the consumers want more from their subscriptions, even though they prefer bouquets. 40 per cent consumers feel their subscriptions cater to the viewing needs of the entire family. Several consumers felt there is room for their levels of satisfaction to grow, as they want to watch other and new channels that they think they may like. There is a need for ‘effective choice’ to be exercised by consumers.
The report also stated that to ensure that subscriptions reflect consumer choice, the charges for the ‘Network Capacity Fee’ (NCF), could be reviewed. Alternatively, a Network Access Fee (NAF) on a per channel basis could be considered in place of a flat charge for NCF. By this method, distributors could be incentivised for aiding consumers by providing suitable channels and bouquets of their individual choice, the report said.
Price is the most important factor for choosing package subscriptions for many consumers, as per the study. 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 INR 200 and INR 400 for their subscriptions, on a monthly basis, stated the report.
The report highlighted that there is a lack of awareness on how to select (or delete) channels and dependence on last-mile TV distributors among consumers. Several consumers (31 per cent) claimed that they were unaware of the possibility of adding or removing TV channels from their subscription packages whereas 51 per cent are not inclined towards adding or removing channels themselves and only 43 per cent of those who add or remove TV channels found the process convenient. A majority of consumers (60 per cent) rely on manual processes of adding or removing channels and require direct intervention from distributors, stated the report.
According to the report, lack of awareness of TRAI’s channel selector app is an important finding from the survey. Around 75 per cent consumers are unaware of the ‘channel selector app’ launched by TRAI in June 2020 to enhance consumer choice. The report suggested that this reinforces the need to improve efforts at capacity building of consumers on a priority basis.
“Consumers want better quality of service (QoS) at the last-mile”, said the report. TRAI introduced QoS regulations in 2017 that mandate itemised billing, fast and convenience grievance redressal and assistance with customer premises equipment. However, consumers believe that there is scope for improvement on these parameters, stated the report.
The report mentioned that one in five consumers perceive decline in grievance redressal, assistance with Set Top Boxes (STBs), freedom to choose channels they want to watch, and an increase in the number of advertisements. In fact, three out of ten consumers claim to have never received an itemised bill. These are mandatory under the extant regulatory framework.
Non- compliance with this framework is indicative of inadequate enforcement at the last-mile of distribution, stated the report.
The report also revealed that the regulator could also support credible consumer organisations in generating awareness, building capacity and acting as watchdogs for compliance with QoS, convenience in channel selection availability, quality of content, as well as viewing experience and quality of service.
Pradeep S. Mehta, secretary general, CUTS International, said, “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. 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.
T.V. Ramachandran, president, Broadband India forum, said, “In this regard, 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 added.
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