KATHMANDU, July 17: Foreign channel operators have taken a step towards complying with the Nepal government’s ‘À la carte’ price system by sending their channel package price lists to Nepali distributors.
As a result, the broadcasting of foreign channels will not be stopped, as previously warned by the government. Earlier, the government had declared that all foreign TV channels would no longer be available for paid broadcasts starting from July 17.
The Department of Information and Broadcasting had required foreign TV channels 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 due to non-compliance. However, foreign channel operators have now started submitting their channel packages to the Nepali distributors, averting any interruption in channel transmission.
Sudhir Parajuli, president of the Federation of Nepal Cable Television Entrepreneurs, confirmed that they received the package price of 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 provide their package price and other necessary details shortly.
Under the ‘À la carte’ pricing system, foreign channel operators will 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.
Furthermore, 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 determined 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.
Similarly, the channel operators would be allowed to charge the consumers separately or on a bouquet basis only for broadcasting the free channels. The government has fixed the maximum price of each bouquet channel at Rs 40 including tax. The government has banned taking more than Rs 40. Here, bouquet channels can also be understood as channels that are provided by the same group in a bundle.