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January 2018


In December, Mr. Mohanasundaram, a cable operator from Alangulam Taluk Rukmaniyamalampuram, Nellai district, in Tamil Nadu lost his life in a road accident. He is survived by his wife & 2 small children.

At the condolence meeting, TSCOA state president - Mr Santhanam announced that Mr. Mohanasundaram's network would be adopted by TSCOA who will upgrade and operate it, handing over the monthly income to the dependent family, till the operator's children were old enough to look after the business independently.

TSCOA Association members donated money and manpower to upgrade the entire network for optical distribution.

After all consumers reported satisfactory reception in their homes, TSCOA adopted the network.

The unity and magnanimous gesture of the TSCOA provides a commendable example of compassion for other associations and network owners, countrywide!

SCaT Congratulates TSCOA on its initiative.

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Reports are that the I&B ministry plans to list the IPL cricket tournament as a 'a sporting event of national importance.'

Currently, all official one-day internationals, Twenty20 and test matches played by the men's cricket team, the semi-finals and finals of the men's World Cup and the International Cricket Council Championship Trophy are designated cricketing events of national importance.

According to the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 (and a 2012 notification), it is compulsory for the Rights owners of any sporting event of national importance to provide Doordarshan an ad free feed of the tournament. DD must be paid 25% of ad revenues, if the feed contains ads.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled - in a case filed by Star India - that Doordarshan cannot share its feed for onward transmission by any other (cable TV, DTH or IPTV) distribution platform. As a result, DD now plans to launch a separate FTA sports channel to carry feeds of such sports events. The channel will be available FTA on DD terrestrial and FreeDish.

Cable TV Networks and DTH platforms will not be permitted to retransmit the feed.

In September 2017, Star bid ₹ 16,347.50 Crore ($ 2.5 Billion) to win the TV, digital, Indian and global media rights to IPL for the next 5 years.

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Doordarshan's FreeDish has stopped auctioning new slots on its platform, and plans to completely change the process.

In the interim period, TV channels already on FreeDish, whose annual lease has expired are unable to rebid to continue their transmission on FreeDish.

The TDSAT has extended interim relief to these channels, that they can continue on the platform whose contracts with DD's free DTH platform FreeDish has expired till further orders.

These channels will have to pay FreeDish either the highest bid amount in that category in the preceding year, or the reserved price whichever is higher.

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The I&B ministry has merged its 3 departments:

 Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP),

 Song and Drama Division (S&DD) and

 Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), according to an order today.

After the merger, DFP, S&DD & DAVP will become divisions of the "Bureau of Outreach & Communication (BOC)" and will be headquartered in New Delhi.

All regional offices and field units of S&DD and DAVP will be subsumed in the 22 regional offices and 147 field units of DFP, which will be called "Regional Outreach Bureaus" (ROBs).

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Nakul Chopra, currently President AAAI and Senior Advisor, Publicis Communications has been elected the third Chairman of BARC India. He succeeds Viacom18 Group CEO Sudhanshu Vats, who successfully completed his one-year tenure as Chairman.

Under Sudhanshu, BARC India expanded its sample panel homes from 20,000 to 30,000 & announced its partnership with MSO DEN Networks for Return Path Data gathering.

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On 14 Dec the Ministry of Communications (MoC) assured the broadcast and satcom industries, that the government will further ease norms for doing business in India and that processes were underway for implementation soon to do away with multiple permissions for communications frequencies.

Communications minister Manoj Sinha said that it was "time to take a fresh approach" to satcom policies, in conjunction with the department of space, the senior most official, secretary Aruna Sundararajan, stressed that soon the government would unveil a single window for frequency-related permissions.

Both Sinha & Sunderarajan promised to take up with the Department of Space, various concerns raised by TV channels and satellite operators, mostly foreign, relating to lengthy clearance processes.

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The MIB has ordered an Assamese TV channel DY365 to go off air for 3 days and Gujarati channel VTV for a day for violating the cable television network rules.

The Assamese channel DY365 had aired a news report on a ritual, wherein a man was seen tossing a newborn up and down in the air without a "shred of care and concern". The video, aired in June last year, was reportedly meant to expose a superstition prevalent in some parts of Assam, as per which it is believed that the dangerous practice of tossing a child up and down in the air would keep it safe. The ministry said the visuals were "extremely disturbing and not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition".

In another order, the ministry asked a Gujarati channel VTV to go off air for a day on 16 December. It had telecast a news program in March, in which a man was shown brutally beating up children. The channel claimed the incident took place in a Gujarat school, but later investigation by the channel confirmed the incident had taken place in an orphanage in Egypt.

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ZEEL plans to launch Zee Telugu HD and Zee Cinemalu HD on 31 December.

Zee Telugu HD and Zee Cinema HD will not be a mirror offering of their SD versions. Both the channels will have some original content as the HD channels will have more air time for content due to fewer ads.

It is also planning to launch Zee Kannada HD, however, the date of launch has not yet been finalised.

In October, ZEEL launched Zee Tamil HD its eleventh HD channel.

According to a recent study on HD channels by BARC India, viewership of HD channels increased 169% from October 2015 to September 2017. The number of HD channels increased only 41% from 59 in 2015 to 83 in 2017. Of the available 83 HD channels, 50 channels have both SD and HD feed. SD channel count jumped to 517 in 2017 from 445 in 2015.

According to the report 'The HD Landscape', the youth in 22-40 year age bracket are among the biggest consumers of HD channels with a 35% share of HD viewership.

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TRAI has directed broadcasters to remove their Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) for the analog Pay TV from their website, since all Analog Cable TV transmissions have been shut down effective 31 March 2017. RIO is the rate at which broadcasters sell their channels to distribution platform operators (DPOs). All broadcasters and DPOs are mandatorily required to publish their RIO displaying the individual and bouquet rate of channels. The RIO published by DPOs is for the consumers.

"All the broadcasters are advised to ensure that no RIO for analogue platforms are either executed or displayed on their websites and no offers are made, directly or indirectly, for making their signals of TV channels available on analogue cable television networks," TRAI said in its Dec 2017 order.

Further, the regulator has advised all MSOs & LCOs to ensure that no unencrypted signals are carried on their cable TV networks.

In March 2017, the TRAI issued a new & comprehensive tariff order and interconnection regulation for all addressable platforms. The order has been challenged in the Madras High Court. Arguments have concluded but the judgement has been reserved. The entire industry has been awaiting the court's verdict since August 2017.

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Sun TV Network has switched off the digital feed for all its channels to controversy ridden Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) from 4th December 2017.

The switch off is due to differences in the number of Pay channel (STB) subscribers claimed by Sun TV and the numbers offered by Arasu.

Arasu has reportedly offered all Pay channels only 10% extra for their digital feed, compared to the analog feed, pointing out the huge reach that Arasu provides in Tamil Nadu.

Sun TV Network has refused the 10% hike formula and demanded ₹ 20 per subscriber for its 7 leading channels. this is the same rate that other MSOs pay Sun TV Network. TACTV has refused to accept the price.

Much is at stake here. Sun could, atleast temporarily loose its 'most watched channels' status, since TACTV has a huge market share (analog Cable TV) in Tamil Nadu.

Even more could be at stake for TACTV, as subscribers will find its content unattractive, without their favourite TV channels from the SUN Network. TACTV is under pressure to seed STBs and convert 70 lakh subscribers to its Digital service. Without the DAS take up, TACTV could lose its provisional DAS license.

It remains to be seen who will blink first!


iTV Network launched of a Gujarati news channel India News Gujarat, on December 4, just ahead of the Gujarat polls.

The Gujarati news market is already crowded with TV9 Gujarati, ETV News Gujarati, GS TV, Sandesh News, VTV Gujarati & ABP Asmita.

Speaking at the new channel launch, iTV Network founder and promoter Kartikeya Sharma said, "Regional and local concerns often get subsumed in national broadcasting formats. We strongly believe regional programming must be given the due space and promotion it deserves. The launch of India News Gujarat is our response to the need for credible providers of regional news services in the state.

iTV Network already operates various regional news channels including India News Haryana, India News Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand, India News Rajasthan, India News Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh and India News Punjab. In June, the company had launched its first non-Hindi channel with India News Punjab.


With Discovery Asia Pacific President & MD Arthur Bastings quitting, General Managers for India, Japan/North Asia, Greater China, Southeast Asia and Australia, New Zealand and Pacific will report directly to Discovery Networks International CEO & President Jean-Briac Perrette. "After re-joining Discovery in 2015, Bastings recruited a diverse and talented new leadership team drawn from digital and direct-toconsumer backgrounds, and shifted the operating model towards standalone market clusters and futurefacing products," a spokesperson explained.

Karan Bajaj is the SVP & GM of Discovery Networks South Asia.

The first major move made by Bajaj after taking charge was entering the sports genre with DSport.

A new GEC channel Discovery JEET is to be launched shortly.

Discovery's Kids channel is also being revamped.

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The I&B ministry has asked the TRAI to suggest less cumbersome TV downlink licensing norms.

Currently there are several hundred TV downlink licenses applications pending. Applicant often resort to buying out valid licenses of defunct TV channels, or even entire TV channels, just to reuse the existing license.

The TRAI will soon float a consultation paper. One of the options is to auction TV downlink licenses to the highest bidder, along similar lines as is being done for FM radio licenses.

"There are some other issues also that have been flagged. WPC (The wireless planning and coordination) has stopped giving permission (for new licences) as per the SC order that all airwaves must be auctioned. Therefore, the ministry has asked what could be the various methods for this and to check if an auction is feasible," said S.K. Gupta, secretary, TRAI.

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