Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TRAI aggregator norms positive for Dish TV; negative for Zee/Sun

TRAI just a while ago notified amendments to regulations governing aggregators that distribute channels on behalf of broadcasters.

Only a broadcaster shall publish an RIO (Reference Interconnect Offer, a document with channel/bouquet prices) and enter into contracts with a distributor. In case the broadcaster hires an agent, or aggregator, the agent shall act only in the name of the broadcaster. The broadcaster shall ensure that the agent does not alter the bouquets as offered in its RIO. If an agent acts on behalf of multiple broadcasters, the individual broadcasters shall ensure that the agent does not bundle its channels or bouquets with other broadcasters. However, broadcasters belonging to the same group can bundle their channels.

Impact Analysis of NEW TRAI Regulations
We view this as negative for broadcasters (such as Zee, Sun TV) who use aggregators (such as Media Pro) to distribute their channels. In our view, the aggregators may no longer be able to bundle channels from
different broadcasters (thereby creating a bouquet with dominant viewership share) and enjoy better pricing power. However, given Sun TV does not use an aggregator in southern India (from where its majority of
revenues come from), we expect the negative impact to be more on Zee vs. Sun TV.

We also view these norms as positive for Dish TV given Dish TV, as a distributor may benefit from lower content costs and better margins.