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Thursday, October 13, 2016

TRAI may check broadcasters & distributors' monopolistic behaviour

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India may intervene in case any monopolistic behaviour of significant market power (SMP) is observed or brought to its notice in future although it has decided not to regulate the market power at present.It said in its draft tariff orders that it will keep a watch on the developments after implementation of the new framework. It has noted that the monopolistic behaviour is well demonstrated by both, broadcasters as well as distributors of television channels. However, it says that it is prescribing a new framework for television broadcasting sector.

In the consultation paper that has led to this draft, stakeholders had been asked to suggest whether there was a need to identify significant market powers. The stakeholders were also asked to suggest the criteria for classifying an entity as the a significant power.A majority of broadcasters felt that the issue of identifying SMPs was in the purview of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and there was no need for TRAI to do so. They also said the CCI provides adequate safeguards for preventing anti-competitive behaviour. A few broadcasters however favoured the idea of SMP identification and have given suggestions on identifying SMPs.

A few distributors of television channels submitted that there was no need to identify SMPs while the others believed that such a distinction be made. Some distributors suggested that vertically integrated entities in the distribution sector be subjected to additional regulations.

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