July 2018


Zee Network has dethroned Star India with the highest viewership share in the entertainment broadcasting space, helped by its strategy to increase original programming hours in regional channels, according to a report by CLSA.

Zee Network has 25% viewership ahead of Star India's 24%, CLSA said, citing BARC data.

CLSA analysed 70 channels accounting for over 60% of TV viewership.

The viewership share of Zee's regional channels has increased from 9% in June 2017 to 12% now. Most of Zee's gains came from the rural market.

The viewership of Hindi GEC & Hindi Movie channels remained almost constant. Rural and regional viewership shifted the balance.

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On 25 June, the Editors Guild of India issued a statement voicing out its protest against the Tamil Nadu government for registering an FIR against Tamil news channel, Puthiya Thalaimurai. A case was filed against the channel's management for statements made by a guest on their show. The FIR was slapped even before the programme was aired.

The guild has also condemned the government for using government's cable TV service - Arasu Cable, to blackout and control channels that had criticised the government. The Guild says there have been several instances of TV channels in Tamil Nadu been pulled off Arasu, for periods ranging between a couple of hours and a few days.

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Leveraging its exclusive carriage of the FIFA 2018 World Cup, Sony Pictures Network SPN cut off its satellite feed to Odisha based Ortel Communications, for unpaid dues.

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The Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) will soon be defining net neutrality laws for Nepal's telecom providers. Telcos in Nepal have discriminatory data tariffs. Ncell, for instance, has tariffs that provide Facebook for free.

Nepal has only 2 large telcos, one of them stateowned, and data prices are generally higher than India’s.

NTA plans to seek advice from TRAI to frame its net neutrality laws. 'Zero-rating' as implemented by Ncell's free Facebook, will almost certainly be prohibited.

TRAI and the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications recently also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to exchange information.

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The government has extended the deadline for mandatory local telecom equipment testing to March 31, 2019.

While the government aims to implement its plan of mandatory telecom equipment testing from October 1, it will be limited to some equipment such as fax machines and modems to start with and the number of products to be brought under its ambit will be increased in phases, Shakeel Ahmad, deputy director general (DDG) at Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), told the press.

The industry has been opposing the move for mandatory local testing, saying it would cause delays & incur ₹ 1,500 crore in annual testing charges.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has moved the Supreme Court against the bail granted to Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader and former Union minister P. Chidambaram, by Delhi high court in connection with the INX Media corruption case.

CBI claims that it was "impermissible" for the high court to entertain Karti Chidambaram's bail plea when an application seeking similar relief was pending before the trial court. It felt the bail could seriously prejudice the case.

Karti is accused of having received money in 2007 to help procure Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance for INX Media to receive ₹ 305 crore from overseas investors, at a time when his father was finance minister.

INX Media is owned by ex-Star TV CEO Peter Mukerjea & his wife Indrani. peter, currently in jail for a murder investigation, confessed about the payment to Karti.

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The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has asked the MIB & PCI to issue directives to "the Central government/state governments and its functionaries to refrain from using the nomenclature 'Dalit' for the members belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as the same does not find mention in the Constitution of India or any statute."

Sources stated the I&B ministry is unlikely to issue any advisory on its part and is expected to ask the PCI to take a call on the issue.

The Centre had, in a March 2018 circular asked all state and Central government departments to avoid the nomenclature 'Dalit.'

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The female viewership of news genre is on an upswing, representing 46% of viewers, as per BARC data. The news genre which has traditionally been skewed towards male audience.

The female viewership for Malayalam news increased 95% on account of news on Nipah virus, honour killing case and by-poll elections.

The Karnataka assembly elections saw the female viewership of Kannada news genre rise by 172%.

News is the third largest genre on television with an 8% viewership share.

The news genre has 163 channels across English, Hindi, and regional languages. It registered a growth of 15% the number of channels, since 2016.

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DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma has set an ambitious target of converting 10% of its cable TV universe to High Definition (HD) from standard definition (SD) in the next 12 months.

As on 31 March, DEN had 7.4 million paid digital subscribers apart from 1 million paid subscribers of its associates. Of these, there were only 100,000 HD subscribers.

Sharma said the price of HD Set Top Boxes (STBs) has plunged from ₹ 4,000-5,000 to ₹ 1,500-1,600 which should help seeding HD STBs.

HD channels yield higher ARPUs.

DEN will be rolling out broadband covering 10 states and 100 cities. In Q1, the company plans to enable 15 towns. The company currently has a broadband subscriber base of 1,07,000.

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The MIB plans to conduct an independent study to gauge the impact of government advertisements on people.

The initiative comes ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections for which the government is expected to reach out to the people and highlight the work done by it in the past 4 years.

The study will help the government to understand which medium yield the best results.

In 2016-17, the government spent about ₹ 1,286 crore on advertisements about government policies, schemes, projects and events through various media.

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In the midst of the FIFA World matches, on 15 June while Spain & Portugal played, Sony Pictures Network (SPN) cut offs the satellite feeds for all its channels to Kolkatta based MSO - Manthan Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd, over unpaid dues.

Around 2 lakh cable homes, abruptly had their FIFA match cut off midway through the match.

Press reports said the action was due to an outstanding claimed by SPN of over ₹ 11 Crores from the MSO.

Manthan moved the TDSAT but their plea was dismissed. The tribunal said Manthan would have been protected if it had paid the dues amounting to ₹ 1.72 crore as told to do.

Rajesh Kaul, President Sports and distribution business, confirmed that the feeds of all Sony channels had been cut off.

Reports are that Star India too had disconnected feeds to Manthan during IPL matches over unpaid dues, earlier this year.

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