NEW DELHI: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) is a happy lot and why shouldn’t it be? After all its demands are being heard and openly expressed in public meetings by the Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari himself. As reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com (Tewari reaffirms his support for extension of ad cap implementation) the minister has come out in support of the news channels who for long have been asking for an extension to the implementation of the 12 minute ad cap.
Welcoming his recent statement that news channels should get an extension on the 12 minute ad cap “at least till the final phase of digitisation is complete”, the NBA said that the industry is in a dire financial condition, like many other sectors of the Indian economy, with ad revenues being slow, carriage fees continuing to be burdensome and credible subscription revenues being out of sight.
Reinstating its earlier argument on the need for delay in implementation of ad cap, NBA today said that a forced curb on advertising will have a catastrophic impact on revenues of news broadcasters forcing many to take drastic steps that would have an unavoidable and adverse impact on quality of service and jobs.
The association has estimated that if the ad cap were indeed implemented at this stage, the revenue loss across news channels would be in excess of Rs 500 crore, forcing cuts of at least that amount in costs, if channels have to survive.
The NBA agreed with the minister that the 12 minute cap on advertisements per clock hour be kept in abeyance and such restrictions “kick in only when the benefits of digitisation are apparent so that broadcasting companies can make good their advertising losses with subscription fee.”
It also urged that the burdensome and crippling nature of carriage fees which have no business to exist in a truly digitised environment is also addressed urgently.
NBA requested the minister and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to come out with a final notification keeping the ad cap for news channels in abeyance as above in the next 10 days as any delays beyond that will have an irreparable impact on the industry.
Now with the I&B minister himself coming out in open to support the news channels, will TRAI melt and give in to the demands of the news channels is something which is worth a wait.