June 2017


Can A Channel Occupy Multiple Listings On The Same Platform?

In an unprecedented move, The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), the representative body of private television news channels, has asked TRAI to act against Arnab Goswami's recently launched news channel 'Republic TV' for unethical distribution practices.


In its 12 May letter, NBA pointed out "Republic TV is licensed as an English news channel but for reasons best known has been registered by several MSOs /distribution platforms, multiple times under different genres in their EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) with multiple logical channel numbers (LCN). We have been informed of several infractions."

The complaint is based on TRAI's interconnect regulations that requires every channel to declare its genre & every distributor must assign a unique channel number to each TV channel. "It is implied that one channel can only be classified in one genre," said an industry observer.


"I am very surprised to hear about it since most NBA members use dual feed as a marketing tool during launch or on big events like budget and elections," said Vikas Khanchandi, CEO Republic TV.

Currently, Republic TV is not a member of NBA but has applied for membership.

In 2015, week 22, India Today Television had toppled Times Now to claim the top spot of the BARC ratings, largely to its presence on dual frequencies on key cable TV networks.

Times Group had then complained to BARC, requesting action.


The BARC has tactically admitted to this practice, even indirectly permitting it, when it had clarified in September 2016, that if a channel was available on multiple slots or feeds on a particular platform, its Bar-o-Meters would read all of them as one channel and would report its ratings as a single channel as long as all/multiple feeds carry the same unique watermark.


The industry has now turned its gaze to the TRAI on whether dual listing of channels is illegal n


Times Now has been raising issues against former employee Arnab's Republic TV.

In May, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd. (BCCL) registered a complaint against Arnab Goswami and reporter Prema Sridevi with the Azad Maidan Police Station (Mumbai) under sections 378, with sections 379, 403, 405, with sections 406, 409, 411, 414 and 418 of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 66-B, 72 and 72-A of the IT Act, 2000.

The complaint alleges criminal breach of trust, theft, misappropriation of property and infringement of the intellectual properties of BCCL by Republic TV.

On Republic TV's launch day, it telecast audio tapes of Lalu Prasad's telephone chats with gangster Shahabuddin in prison.

On 8 May, Republic TV broadcast audio tapes of telephone talks between Sridevi (former news reporter of Times Now) and the Sunanda Pushkar (Shashi Tharoor's deceased wife) and their househelp Narayan.

Both these stories carried material created while both Sridevi and Goswami were employed with Times Now, according to the complaint.