Regulators

Number of TV channels reaches 882 - far from target, 10 entrants in past quarter

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NEW DELHI: India now has a total of 882 functional private television channels (as on 31 May 2017) which is way short of the claim made last year that the country will have 1500 channels by the end of March this year.

The master list issued by the Government of 882 includes nine channels whose permission has been “cancelled by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry due to security denial by Home Ministry However stay order given by Court.” The list also names two channels MTV Beats HD (earlier STAY RAW) and the Bangla AATH (earlier Channel 8) which have changed names since the last list issued as on 28 February 2017.

While permission was accorded to a total of 1071 TV channels, the licences of 189 were cancelled. (This does not include the nine whose cases were stayed by Courts.)

Of the 882, 391 are news channels while 491 are general entertainment channels. Of these, 773 782 channels including 369 news channels are permitted to uplink from and downlink in India. Another 01 including sixteen news channels are uplinked from overseas and permitted to downlink into India.

In comparison, the country has only eighteen channels including six news channels which are uplinked from India but permitted to downlinked in other countries.

Interestingly, while the total number of operational channels has fallen by ten, a total of ten new channels have entered the field in the past three months till May-end.

The number of total channels had grown from 869 in February-end 2016 to 892 in February-end this year but has fallen by ten since then. In fact, the number had risen to 899 by the end of December 2016 when the total cancellations were 155. By January-end this year, the number had fallen to 889 of which twelve banned channels had received stay orders from Courts.

Channels permitted from March onwards include Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, Tunes 6 Music owned by Movements Digital India Pvt. Ltd; Surya Samachar and Surya Sagar owned by Surya Sagar Surya Processed Food Pvt. Ltd; Sony Aath owned by Bangla Entertainment Pvt. Ltd; Cartoon Netwrok HD+ (earlier Cartoon Network HD) owned by Turner International India Pvt Ltd; Public Comedy owned by Writeman Media Pvt. Ltd; Zee Kannada HD and Zee Telugu HD owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited; and Euro News owned by Catvision Ltd.

The list of the channels permitted as on 31 May 2017 along with their area and language of operation and the names of owning companies has been placed on the ministry's site.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee for Information Technology which goes into issues relating to Information and Broadcasting had last year noted that the State Finance Commission while drafting its proposals for the 12th Plan (2012-17) had assumed that the number of permitted TV channels would rise to 1500.

Meanwhile, the Committee was told that the present set up of Electronic Media Monitoring Centre had developed logging and recording facility for 900 TV channels and is thus fully equipped to start monitoring of all permitted channels available on public domain.

The Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd. (BECIL) is configuring all available free to air channels in the content monitoring system of the EMMC.

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