Regulators

TV ratings: Ownership & FDI questions

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/regulators-images/2014/01/14/TAM.jpg?itok=_1lTP6BV

MUMBAI: To have foreign direct investment (FDI) in TV ratings or not, that is the question. And the recently-cleared TV ratings guidelines by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) have brought this to the fore by their silence on this score. While announcing that the CCEA had given the go ahead to the ministry of  information and broadcasting (MIB) last week to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)-recommended  guidelines for a regulatory framework for TV ratings in India,  minister Manish Tewari had this to say.

“In so far as FDI is concerned we would make a separate reference to TRAI with regard to the quantum and need of FDI that should be permitted in ratings agencies. After the TRAI recommendations, the question of allowing FDI would be looked at. So as we speak, no FDI will be permitted in TV ratings agencies till we don’t have a recommendation on it."

Although the 2013 recommendations do not have any mention of FDI, it is noteworthy to point out that TRAI's 2008 consultation paper on TV ratings does. The paper says that stakeholders feel that FDI should be restricted to 20 per cent in a TV ratings agency.  It also goes on to suggest that since no security issues were involved and little or no competition was prevailing (only two agencies existed at that time – TAM and aMap  and no regulation existed), that it would be okay of no if no FDI limit was imposed.  "Generally FDI encourages world class technology and international best practices," TRAI had stated in the paper.

So even as the TRAI was of the opinion that FDI was all right in 2008, in 2013 it gave the issue an ignore. Currently FDI limits for broadcasters are 100 per cent  for non-news and current affairs channels, for news channels 26 per cent, for cable TV 74 per cent, for DTH 49 per cent, for print 26 per cent for general news etc.

Tewari stated that the question of FDI would be looked at after the TV ratings guidelines are notified by the ministry. Could the earlier recommendation of 20 per cent work as a guideline today? Or is the government going to be averse to FDI totally?

Let us take a look at the other major guideline of cross holding in the TV ratings provider. The guideline states very clearly:  ‘No single company/legal entity either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings shall have substantial equity holding that is, 10 per cent or more of paid up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies.’

If one looks at the holding pattern of Mediametrie - the French ratings agency - which is soon to be announced as the Broadcast Audience Research Council's (BARC's) ratings partner,  France Televisions holds 22.89 per cent equity in it, TF1  10.8 per cent, Radio France 13.5 per cent and Union des Annonceurs 11.77 per cent.

France Televisions in turn owns 49 per cent of TV5 Monde while AEF (formerly called France Monde) that runs France 24 owns 12.6 per cent of France Televisions. Quite a convoluted holding structure, but clearly one where broadcasters could be owning more than 10 per cent equity in the TV ratings provider.

However, BARC officials are quick to clarify that it is BARC which will be providing the ratings and not Mediametrie. The latter is only a technology supplier and ratings are being outsourced to it. It owns no equity in the ratings company which is BARC. Hence, the question of more than 10 per cent equity ownership by broadcasters in Mediametrie is irrelevant and there will be no violation of TRAI's guidelines, they emphasise.

BARC, on its part is a non-profit organisation under section 25 of the Companies Act, with nominated representatives from the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Indian Society of Advertisers, and Advertising Agencies Association of India. In a response to TRAI's consultation paper, BARC had stated that even though the three may have conflicting interests in the ratings process, its articles of incorporation clearly state that "each has an equal voice in the design, and monitoring of the rating system, and in the administration of BARC, irrespective of the funding pattern."

TAM, on the other hand, has woes on both fronts as it not only does not comply with the FDI guidelines it also is has issues on the cross holding guideline as it is owned jointly by the WPP group and AC Nielsen. It is even listed on the WPP site as one of its companies.

The key question that everyone is asking at the time of writing is whether TAM Media will move court against the guidelines, as they have come into force so many years after it has been operating in India with the equity and cross holding structures that it has. Or will it give up the fight and pack up just like Coca-Cola did in the seventies, when the government ordered it to reduce the FDI in it to 40 per cent.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/24/trai1-800x800_0%20%281%29.jpg?itok=KighZfVo
TRAI rejects complaint against free promos, says consumer comes first

The Telecom Commission’s contention that free promotional offers are responsible for the industry’s falling financial health and lower licence fee payments to the government has been rejected by the regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/24/Rjavardhan-rathor-800x800%20%282%29.jpg?itok=q1QzCcu7
No middlemen in film certification process anymore

NEW DELHI: The Indian Government has said that it has obviated the role for intermediaries/ agents in the existing as well as new online certification system. Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore has told the Parliament that the online system is user-friendly, and...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/23/Bigg_Boss-Khatron_ke_Khiladi.jpg?itok=CERAE8EH
28 complaints against 12 TV channels about reality shows since 2006

NEW DELHI: Twelve television channels have faced action from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for 28 complaints relating to reality shows since 2006.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/23/MIB-800x800.jpg?itok=ict0XgWE
Automatic renewal of TV channels subject to fee and ten-year validity

NEW DELHI: The Government, which had said that payment of annual permission fee sixty days before the due date will by itself be sufficient permission for continuation of a channel for a further period of one year, has clarified that all the TV channels and Teleports are likely to benefit from this...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/23/Rajyavardhan%20Rathore1.jpg?itok=xdCR_XOI
Eleven TV channels directed to go off air for fixed periods in last three years

NEW DELHI: Eleven television channels have been asked to suspend transmission for limited period of a minimum one day up to 30 days for violations of Programme or Advertisement Codes since 2014.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/22/M%20Venkaiah%20Naidu.jpg?itok=yLKb3cWM
Public broadcasters of India and Ethiopia to work in exchange of content

NEW DELHI: India and Ethiopia have agreed to have an institutional mechanism for collaboration between public broadcasters of both the countries in areas of content generation and capacity building of officials.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/21/teleport%20%281%29.jpg?itok=OneMd3sC
Report details of TV channels by Mar-end or face action, teleports warned

NEW DELHI: Teleports which fail to give full information of TV channels uplinked or downlinked by them within 15 days will be considered as lapsed and action initiated to cancel permission. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry said in a note put on its website but dated 17 March that all...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/21/ajay-mittal%20%281%29.jpg?itok=fPg3jay_
MIB's Ajay Mittal allays media industry fears, paints positive picture

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) secretary Ajay Mittal today expressed faith in the strength of Indian institutions to withstand the challenges in the Indian media sector that have arisen out of fringe elements at play.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/21/Trai800.jpg?itok=SXuzbaYj
TRAI issues new consultation paper on VNO

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which had in May 2015 recommended that Virtual Network Operators (VNO) in the telecom sector should be permitted for all segments of voice, data and video as well as for all services notified in the unified license (UL) for a period of ten...

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories