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I&B Ministry mulls different ad caps for news, non-news channels

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is considering different time limits for advertisements run on news and non-news channels. This is even as news broadcasters are looking for relief from the cap of 12 minutes on ads, which has to be implemented by October, according to telecom and broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

I&B Minister Manish Tewari said on Thursday, “The carriage fee in the first two phases of digitisation has gone down by 30-40 per cent. ….But, we are looking at a method for difference of cap for news and non-news broadcasters.”

He said digitisation would help higher subscription revenues for broadcasters, which are expected to flow back into the industry. Carriage fee is the amount broadcasters pay to cable companies for them to carry their channels in the prime band.

Industry players had agreed to cap ads on their channels to about 20 minutes from July and gradually cut it down to 12 minutes by October. The broadcasters had, in fact, told the regulator that they would accept these terms. TRAI, in the past, had said that broadcasters who do not follow the ad cap rule by October could be prosecuted. The I&B Ministry thinks that these regulations can be amended for news broadcasters. Last week, news channels moved the appellate tribunal, seeking relief in TRAI’s ad cap rule.

Talking about the media space, Tewari said that India would require a global voice in the next few years and needed media organisations with an external footprint to compete with channels such as CNN and BBC. He was in favour of opening up the terrestrial space, provided broadcasters fulfil the requirements of an international footprint, and he has sought broadcasters’ views on this.

Meanwhile, Doordarshan is set to launch four 24X7 Hindi news and current affairs channels in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. This is expected to strengthen the public broadcaster’s hold in the Hindi belt.

(Courtesy – Buisness Line)

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