February 22, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Foreign TV channels won’t be blocked with ‘A la carte’ price system in place

The Nepal Weekly
July 18, 2023

Foreign channel operators have decided to comply with the Nepal government’s ‘À la carte’ price system by sending their channel package price lists to distributors in Nepal.

Owing to this, the broadcasting of foreign channels will not be halted, as per the warning issued by the government earlier. The government had, earlier, announced that all foreign TV channels would no longer be available for paid broadcasts starting from July 17. 

As per the new regulations issued by the Department of Information and Broadcasting the foreign TV channels are required to provide their channel packages, known as “bouquets,” for the implementation of the ‘À la carte’ pricing. Initially, there were concerns that the broadcasting of free foreign channels might be suspended in case they did not comply with the new regulation. However, foreign channel operators have now started submitting their channel packages to the Nepali distributors, averting any interruption in transmission of television channels.

According to Sudhir Parajuli, president of the Federation of Nepal Cable Television Entrepreneurs, they received the package price from three foreign channels, including Sony, Colors, and Discovery, on Sunday. Additionally, Star, which had not provided details during the weekend, informed the distributors that they would shortly provide their package price and necessary details.

Under the ‘À la carte’ pricing system, foreign channel operators should offer per-package prices per subscriber. This new arrangement allows consumers to choose and pay only for the channels they want to watch, rather than a flat fee for all channels. This offers greater flexibility and cost savings for consumers, eliminating the need to pay for channels they do not watch.

This shift in pricing benefits both consumers and channel distributors, as they will now be able to save money by paying for only the channels they prefer. Previously, distributors had to pay a fixed amount, regardless of the number of customers or viewers. Nepal currently enjoys a variety of foreign channels broadcasting different types of content, including 14 channels from Sony and 32 channels from Star.

Earlier, through a ministerial decision on March 29, the Ministry of Communications had fixed the fees that the service providers who have permission to distribute television channel signals can charge from the consumers.

According to the ministry, only Rs 250 including taxes can be charged for the minimum (basic package) fee. In this package, the broadcasting organization will have to show Nepali and foreign ‘free to air’ channels that can be watched for free. Such channels should include informational, news, educational, entertaining, sports and other content.