Regulators

B'cast Bill likely to skip domestic content clause for English movie channels

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NEW DELHI: The government is likely to exempt English movie channels from sourcing 15 per cent of their total weekly programming from India.

“We realize that not enough of English movies are made in India and mandating such sourcing of films from India for English movie channels would be difficult,” an official of the information and broadcasting ministry has told Indiantelevision.com.

This would mean that the likes of Star Movies, HBO, Zee Studio, MGM and TCM (the last two are available on Dish TV’s DTH service) can breathe easy.

The draft Broadcasting Bill 2006 had said that all TV channels should source from India 15 per cent of their total content broadcast every week.

For Indian channels, dishing out primarily Indian entertainment programmes, this clause in the draft Bill should not cause much of a problem, but for foreign news and kids channels (Cartoon Network, BBC, Disney, etc) and niche ones like Discovery Travel and Living, Animax, it would mean reworking programming line ups.

Channels like Animax, Disney, Toon Disney, Cartoon Network and Pogo would have to make more programmes in India or source them from here, which is not done up to the proposed 15 per cent.

The government official explained that the proposed clause, which is based on similar laws elsewhere in the world, was more aimed towards addressing the concerns of the Indian animation industry.

A section of the growing Indian animation industry, led by some big companies, had petitioned the government some months ago that foreign channels, especially kids’, should be directed to source a certain quantum of their programming from India.

However, the government doesn’t propose to specify the quality of sourced programmes as and when the Broadcast Bill is enacted into a law. “That’s up to a respective channel to decide,” the official said.

Even foreign news channels like BBC, CNN and Euro News need not worry unnecessarily.

The proposed 15 per cent local programming does not mean live news, as had been envisaged buy some channels.

It could be in the form of even current affairs pro

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