Govt moots net worth norm for channels

NEW DELHI: The Indian government has mooted a proposal of minimum net worth for all TV channels uplinking from India on the lines of norms prevalent in other industries like banking.

According to the proposal, all news channels uplinking from India should have a declared net worth of approximately Rs. 30 million, while a non-news channel ought to have a net worth of Rs. 15 million.

Though these minimum net worth amounts are "ridiculously low", according to broadcast industry observers, the government feels it might help in increasing investment from the private sector as also weed out non-serious players.

As per the proposal under consideration of the information and broadcasting ministry, for every subsequent channel from a company the net worth criteria would decrease.

In the news category, additional channels from the same group would have to have a net worth of Rs. 20 million, while in the non-news category a Rs. 10 million net worth would suffice for additional channels.

So, for example, if company X has three news channels in its portfolio, the net worth of the first channel would be Rs. 30 million, while the remaining ones would have to be worth Rs. 20 million. For a three news channel bouquet, it would be Rs. 30 million+Rs. 20 million+Rs 20 million.

These proposals are part of the changes that the government proposes to bring about in the uplinking norms. As part of a proposed downlink policy, similar minimum net worth criteria is being mulled for channels being uplinked from outside and beamed into India.

What is not clear is whether these proposed norms would be applicable on all channels uplinking in C-band or for those doing so in KU-band.

The government proposes to allow KU-band uplinking for all channels and teleports, which, at the moment, is not allowed presently, except in exceptional cases like a traditional DTH service.

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