Regulators

Pay for content and not channel say broadcaster legal counsels

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/regulators-images/2014/08/23/regulator.JPG?itok=pkRv8zDW

MUMBAI: Regulation in India, unlike the US, is very static. Not only this, any regulation that comes out, does not address the future, but the past. New technology is proving to be a remarkable challenge, not only for the industry, but for the regulators as well.

These were the major points of discussion at the 2nd Legal Era Media & Entertainment Law Forum, where legal counsels for various broadcasters, emphasised on how the regulatory regime in India is very backward. A normal broadcaster today has to go through the tedious task of applying to the Ministry of Information and Technology (MIB), Department of Space (DoS) and WPC approvals. As per statistics, at present approximately 800 files for channel licence is pending with the MIB and some 600 with the DoS.

Stressing on the rise of technology, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) director corporate Amitabh Kumar said that by the year 2020 linear transmission of channels will be replaced by video on demand (VoD). Kumar also stressed on the need for change in the way licences are given to broadcasters. “The broadcasters’ licence should have provision for VoD, VOIP etc. There should also be a provision, as per which the licence services should be allowed to expand, with no entry fee. The regulatory body must have scope for widening the ambit of services for lifetime,” opined Kumar.

For Kumar, the regulators need to be pro-active rather than reactive to the new technology advancements.

Content consumption is undergoing change. “Content cannot be controlled, it can be self regulated, which is working beautifully,” informed Viacom 18 Media group general counsel Sujeet Jain. He also brought to the fore how the functioning of Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) had forced even the I&B to retract from interfering in the content. “Government should completely take its hands off content,” he added.

Agreeing with Jain was Singh and Singh Law Firm LLP partner Tejveer Bhatia who said that tariff of the VoD content should not be regulated. “If consumer is demanding a particular kind of content, the media industry should have the freedom to decide the tariff. There cannot be a benchmark on the demanded content,” informed Bhatia.

According to Star India president and general counsel, legal and regulatory affairs Deepak Jacob the quality of content is directly proportional to the money spent on it. “If we want to produce high quality content for linear TV, there is cost that is attached to it. While in the past 15 years, the ARPUs have remained flat at Rs 150 to Rs 200 and the broadcasters’ fair share of this has also remained the same, the content cost has increased 20 times. So Rs 1 lakh per episode expense, 15 years ago, has today gone up to Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per episode,” informed Jacob.

Jacob also questioned the whole ‘must provide’ clause that was introduced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). “All this will kill broadcasters. What is the incentive that a broadcaster is getting for creating content for mobile devices or other platforms?” questions Jacob.

Another important point raised during the panel discussion was that unlike in the US and UK, where channels are sold as events, in India, this arrangement doesn’t exist. “We should be moving towards a regime, where consumers can subscribe to events and not channels. And the subscription should allow one to view the content not only on TV but mobile, tablet or computer also. Content, not channel should be highlighted and consumers should be able to pay for content,” said Kumar.

According to Jain, while with change in technology, the format and consumption pattern of the content will change, but the content will remain the same.  “The regulation has to incorporate this aspect and there should be a level playing field,” he opined.

The panelists also suggested that a lot of licencing should go away and what the government should really look at, while moving towards convergence is providing ease of access. “The Prime Minister is talking about making broadband available across the country, but for this access will be needed,” said Jain.  He also highlighted the need for strict laws against piracy. “Taxation needs to be rationalised in order to give fillip to the sector. That apart, ministries will have to merge so that entire ecosystem can merge,” opined Jain.

The session also touched upon the issue of carriage fees and if there was any end to it. According to Jacob, while carriage fee, which is an artificially created monster needs to vanish, placement fee is something which will not cease to exist. “Placement is an individual choice that broadcasters make. It will be unfair of broadcasters to expect a certain number of LCN, without incentivising the MSO,” he concluded. 

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/Narendra-Modi.jpg?itok=42OSj1_u
Modi invites Indians' 'Mann ki Baat', to be aired by AIR, DD, pvt channels & DTH platforms

NEW DELHI: Telephone lines opened on 16 August for people wanting to give their viewpoints to the prime minister Narendra Modi. Indians can call on toll-free number 1800 11 7800 before the 34th installment of his monthly Mann Ki Baat is broadcast. Messages can also be sent via the mygov.in website...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/FM_Tadka.jpg?itok=5qx_zM03
Rajasthan Patrika's FM Tadka to launch four stations

MUMBAI: Rajasthan Patrika Group’s FM Tadka that recently launched two new stations in Ajmer and Bikaner, will soon be launching four new stations in Jammu, Srinagar, Aligarh, and Muzaffarpur. Amongst the four, Aligarh and Muzaffarpur will be launched within a month.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/16/MIB-2-Story_1.jpg?itok=DYd9KL89
MIB: Set up cable TV regulatory panels, Century, Chinar & Pan India among 6 FM licences revoked

NEW DELHI: The information and broadcasting ministry has issued directions to states to set up district-level and state-level monitoring committees to regulate content telecast on cable TV/FM radio channels/community radio stations to ensure adherence to the AIR Broadcast Code.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/14/RS-Sharma.jpg?itok=1JepJjaG
TRAI's final recommendations on net neutrality likely by September

NEW DELHI: India’s telecoms and broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to come out with its final recommendations on net neutrality next month.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/12/Madras-High-Court.jpg?itok=SERzLcsT
TV content: Madras HC seeks Centre's clarification on regulatory mechanism

NEW DELHI: Joining issues with a petition presently being heard by the Supreme Court on a similar matter, the Madras High Court yesterday directed the federal government to clarify on the existing regulatory setup governing contents aired by television channels in India.

Regulators High Court
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/11/trai1-800x800.jpg?itok=2bSfPiH-
TRAI starts process of STBs' interoperability, issues consultation note

NEW DELHI: Realising that lack of technical interoperability of set-top boxes creates problems for consumers wanting to switch over to another service provider, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today issued a consultation note on the solution architecture for technically interoperable STBs...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/11/rajyavardhan%20rathore.jpg?itok=Ax3zLbGm
Govt warned 55 violators of programme & ad codes in 3 yrs, says Rathore

NEW DELHI: The government issued 55 advisories or warnings since 2014 to various channels for violation of the Programme or Advertising Codes, the Parliament has been told. These include four advisories to all channels of which two were issued this year, one relating to telecast of Republic Day...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/10/Nirmala%20Sitharaman%20AND%20Smriti%20Irani.jpg?itok=MS3Kh0FB
Four FDI media proposals await govt. nod

NEW DELHI: A total of 99 proposals including four relating to the information and broadcasting sector for foreign direct investment are pending before various ministries, the Parliament has been informed. This follows the decision to entrust the work of granting government approval for FDI...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/09/madras-hc.jpg?itok=KJGMftNZ
Kal Cables can continue analogue transmission, says Madras High Court

In a clear set-back to the ministry of information and broadcasting, digitization has once again been pushed back in Tamil Nadu where it had been put on hold from Phase I of Digital Addressable System following a court order.

Regulators High Court

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories