NTO row: What is the fundamental need to change again, asks Sudhanshu Vats

The country’s lead broadcasters have collectively come out against the recent amendments made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to the Tariff Order, Interconnections Regulations and Quality of Services Regulations of 2017 for the Broadcasting and Cable Services Sector. 

The broadcasters’ united front was in full force at the press meet organised under the aegis of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) last meet. 

Speaking at the meet, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO & MD, Viacom18 and Vice-President IBF, remarked, “The objective of NTO 1.0 was, first, to give choice to consumers; second, to bring transparency; and third, to reduce litigation. While only the first two have happened, it’s too early to talk about the third.” 

Citing statistics, he said that overall 94 per cent of Indians are aware of the NTO and the choices they have because of the efforts made by the broadcast industry collectively. The month on month churn in industry shows that people are continuously fine-tuning their choices. 

Vats further said, “The other objective of NTO was transparency, which it has also brought in. The question, therefore, is ‘what is the fundamental need to change again?’ In my opinion there was no need.” 

“India is a heterogeneous country with different choices and abilities to pay. In every sector there is a wide spectrum and that needs to play out more in Indian media as well. This push for consistency shouldn’t come in the way of the industry’s and the economy’s growth.” 

There is a lot of dynamism and flux in the M&E industry, hence the broadcast sector needs to be able to settle down. “If there has to be any change, we need to allow for enough time for its implementation, and also changes shouldn’t be suggested so frequently,” Vats stressed.


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