In August this year, the National Broadcasting Council released a statement of its standpoint on a la carte (pick-and-pay) services. The standpoint has had an important impact on the operations of broadcasters and television providers (cable providers, satellite platform operators, IPTV providers, or also OTT platform operators).
What is a la carte (pick-and-pay)?
This is a service in which customers are provided with single television channels that are not part of a package.
A customer that chooses this system pays for access to a particular TV channel from among those in the provider’s product range.
At the moment, the dominant model for distributing television channels is payment of subscription by customers to television packages. Every package contains specific channels.
The standpoint of the National Broadcasting Council
In addition to providers charging for subscription to packages, the National Broadcasting Council has proposed that providers give customers the option of subscribing to individual channels.
In the view of the National Broadcasting Council,
by choosing the channels they wish to view and access, a customer will have access to subscription television at a lower cost.
The National Broadcasting Council has honed in on the problem that when dealing with broadcasters or the firms that license access to channels, as the case may be, providers are usually unable to acquire licenses to distribute single channels, and have to purchase rights to full packages. Usually, the broadcaster has an overwhelming influence over the contents of the package).
The National Broadcasting Council sees the remedy in
passing legislation preventing broadcasters from making conclusion of an agreement with a provider for distribution of a channel conditional upon conclusion of an agreement for a channel or set of channels other than the channel requested by the provider. In addition, the broadcaster would not be permitted to unfairly differentiate between the prices for giving the distributor access to the same channels or packages containing the same channels.
The President of UOKiK is also examining the channel package issue, and instituted antimonopoly proceedings against two telecommunications operators in 2021.