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/2017/11/21/Priya_Ranjan_Dasmunsi.jpg?itok=HPdL8vg_
Former I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi passes away

NEW DELHI: Former Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who took several unpopular decisions during his tenure, died after being in a coma since 2008. He was 72.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/13/Arun-Jaitley-800x800_0.jpg?itok=gJKAmh-2
M&E items get GST relief from 15 November 2017

NEW DELHI: In a major relief to the media and entertainment (M&E) sector, the goods and services tax (GST) has been slashed on a large number of items including electrical apparatus for radio and television broadcasting from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/10/Mukesh-Ambani.jpg?itok=2i8EWmox
Aug-17:Jio leads broadband subscriber growth, BSNL leads wireline subscriber decline

BENGALURU: India’s broadband subscriber base grew 1.81 percent in the month of August 2017 (Aug-17) by 5.61 million to 316.48 million from 310.87 million at the end of July 2017 (Jul-17). The growth was led by the Mukesh Ambani-led unstoppable juggernaut Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (Jio), which...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/08/trai.jpg?itok=sgItxgsN
TRAI tightens landing-page norms

Distributors of television channels, according to a directive issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), have been restrained from placing any registered satellite television channel whose TV rating is released by a TV rating agency on the boot-up screen or the landing...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/08/TRAI-Story.jpg?itok=1cXz2nFX
TRAI pushes DTH cos for BHIM & Bharat QR payments

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked direct to home operators (DTH) to enable digital payments via BHIM/UPI and Bharat QR code by onboarding billers on the Bharat Bill Payment System and print the QR code on DTH bills.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/08/CASBAA-RS_Sharma800.jpg?itok=moGWbg9M
MIB, TRAI allay industry fears on sat capacity leasing & content regulations

MACAU: Indian government officials on Tuesday used an international platform of CASBAA Convention 2017 here to allay some of the industry fears on regulatory challenges involving satellite capacity leasing on foreign satellites and possible content regulations, while stating the country strives to...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/11/03/prasar-bharti.jpg?itok=McDmzedL
Prasar Bharati gears up to mark 20th anniversary

Celebrating its 20-year anniversary, Prasar Bharati is conducting jingle and short film competitions for current and former employees. People have to send their nominations by 10 November.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/30/blue%20whale.jpg?itok=Bo_3VJ-k
SC tells DD to air show warning about Blue Whale

NEW DELHI: Amidst reports of suicides reportedly caused by the Blue Whale online game, public broadcaster Doordarshan has been asked by the Supreme Court to conceive and air a cautionary and educational programme on its dangers. DD was given a week’s time to prepare the programme that should be of...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/10/28/TDSAT-DD.jpg?itok=2NvZc_p-
TDSAT rejects DD's interim measure for FreeDish

NEW DELHI: While giving relief to slot-holders on Doordarshan FreeDish, to ensure their continuity till the government decides its new policy over the next two months, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (TDSAT) also rejected the interim formula proposed by Doordarshan in its...

Regulators TDSAT

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories