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I&B ministry issues downlink guidelines
 
Indiantelevision.com Team

(11 November 2005 3:50 pm)

 

NEW DELHI: One can't say that it comes as a surprise, but it will still be pretty tough for companies, particularly sports channels, to digest the new rules that govern broadcasting in India.

The information and broadcasting ministry today issued the policy guidelines for downlinking all satellite television channels downlinked / received / transmitted and re-transmitted in India for public viewing. This follows the approval given by the Union Cabinet on 20 October to a host of stringent media related issues, including mandatory sharing of sports content by private broadcasters with pubcaster Prasar Bharati.

Specific guidelines have been issued that will henceforth govern the downlink of a channel in the country, the primary one being that broadcast companies will have to be registered in India.

 
 

To quote the notification directly: “Henceforth, all persons / entities providing television satellite broadcasting services (TV channels) uplinked from other countries to viewers in India as well as any entity desirous of providing such a television satellite broadcasting service (TV Channel), receivable in India for public viewership, shall be required to obtain permission from the ministry of information and broadcasting, in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed under these guidelines.”

 
 

SHARING OF CRICKET FEED MANDATORY

The government has said that such shared content will be telecast by DD on its terrestrial and Direct-to-home (DTH) service. The above conditions shall apply to all future events including those covered by existing contracts.

However, in case of cricket event whose broadcasting rights have been obtained by sports channels prior to the proposed law coming into effect, DD will get a feed for all matches featuring India and the finals.

The mandatory content sharing is effective for all events held within and outside the country.

The advertising revenue that accrues from the sale of such events on Doordarshan will be shared in the ratio of 75:25 in favour of rights holders.

This need not necessarily be just for cricket for which the broadcaster will have to share the feed, sporting events of "national importance" are also covered in the notification. Said events of national importance will be determined following "consultations" among the I&B ministry, the sports and youth affairs ministry, Prasar Bharati and the concerned sports channels/sports rights management companies.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR APPLYING

  • The company must be registered in India under the Indian Companies Act, 1956, irrespective of its equity structure, foreign ownership or management control.
  • Have a commercial presence in India with its principal place of business in India.
  • Must either own the channel it wants downlinked, or must have, for the territory of India, exclusive marketing / distribution rights, including the rights to the advertising and subscription revenues for the channel and must submit adequate proof at the time of application.
  • It should also have the authority to conclude contracts on behalf of the channel for advertisements, subscription and programme content.
  • For downlinking one channel, the company should have a minimum net worth of Rs 15 million and for every additional channel, Rs 10 million more in net worth.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR REGISTRATION OF NEWS CHANNELS

In the case of news and current affairs channels there are some additional conditions:

  • It should not carry advertisements aimed at Indian viewers; it should not be designed specifically for Indian audiences (here one would assume this means that it can carry some amount of India-specific programming as is being done by CNN and BBC); that it is a standard international channel; that it has been permitted to be telecast in the country of its uplinking by the regulatory authority of that country.
  • Further, any channel that has any element of news or current affairs in its programme content will be deemed to be a news and current affairs channel.

The notification gives a time limit of 180 days from date of issue for channels to adhere to the downlink guidelines.

Also Read:
Downlink policy harsh on sports and international news channels

Cabinet okays uplink and downlink guidelines

Content sharing: GoM bats for Prasar Bharati

 
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