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May 2018


Replying to a Rajya Sabha query on how the government was supporting Cable TV Networks, Minister Of State - MIB Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that the Section 4B of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 empowers the Central Government to lay down appropriate guidelines to enable the State Governments to put in place an appropriate mechanism for speedy clearance of requests from cable operators for laying cables or erecting posts on any property vested in, or under the control or management of, any public authority and for settlement of disputes, including refusal of permission by the public authority.

He also added that the ministry had on 16 June 2017 had issued guidelines to all the state governments to enable them to put in place an appropriate mechanism for speedy clearance of requests from cable operators for grant of Right of Way (RoW) to maintain the cable infrastructure underground and/or over ground on any property vested in, or under the control or management of, any public authority.

"The guidelines have obligations on the part of Cable Operator while laying the cable lines, to ensure mitigation of public inconvenience and to provide public safety," Rathore explained.

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In a major setback for Reliance Big TV (RBTV), the TDSAT has withdrawn its interim protection to the DTH operator by allowing broadcasters to disconnect signals for non-payment of dues. Apart from Star, ZEEL, and Sun TV, the other broadcasters involved in the matter include Discovery Communications India, Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India, India Cast Media Distribution, ABP News Network, and Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL).

The TDSAT also asked the DTH company to file their reply in all the claims for recovery within 5 weeks. It owes more than ₹ 100 crore to multiple broadcasters.

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Minister of State - I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told the Lok Sabha that currently, DTH platforms use 111 transponders including 42 transponders on ISRO satellites & 69 on foreign satellites. Additionally, there is a registered demand for additional about 64 transponders for immediate future.

"It is expected that over a period of next 3 years adequate capacity would be added through Indian satellites to facilitate migration of foreign capacity to Indian capacity," he said.

Despite TRAI's March 2017 recommendations on sharing of Infrastructure in TV broadcasting & distribution, not a single proposal was received from anyone.

In March 2017, former I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu had informed the Lok Sabha that the total satellite transponder capacity used by the DTH operators stands at 104 transponders with an additional for 68 more transponders.

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Directorate of Film Festival (DFF) director C Senthil Rajan has been repatriated to his parent cadre, the Indian Information Service, and has been put on compulsory wait. This was declared in an official order on the I&B ministry website.

Additional Director General at Doordarshan News Chaitanya Prasad will hold the additional charge of the DFF, said the I&B ministry in the order dated April 11.

'Compulsory Wait' denotes a situation where an officer has not been assigned any task or post and have to spend a few days on compulsory wait till they are assigned a new post.

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Responding to TRAI's consultation paper on TV licensing, broadcasters have vehemently opposed the government proposal to auction licenses for satellite television channels and objected to a hike in license and processing fee claiming that the government should not aim to maximise its revenue by overburdening industry with unreasonable levies.

Broadcasters like Zee, Viacom 18 & Sony pointed out that the concept of auction arises only when the resource is scarce. However, the same is not the case for satellite channels. Therefore, creation of artificial scarcity for revenue maximisation would unnecessarily overburden the industry.

Furthermore, Broadband India Forum stated that auctioning of satellite is not feasible due to India's obligation under various regulations.

Stakeholders also argued that introduction of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) component in the license fee, will unfavourably impact the ease of doing business in the country.

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Sony's kids channel 'Sony Yay' has commenced transmission of its feeds in Bengali & Malayalam, to MSOs in West Bengal & Kerala.

It already has feeds in Tamil & Telugu.

Sony Yay was launched on 18 April 2017, when it replaced 'Animax'. The kids channel contains a large amount of locally created content.

The kids' genre is growing at 8% in urban & 6% in rural viewership. It is the third largest genre after Hindi GEC & movies.

Interestingly, according to BARC data, 86% of kids watch children's channels with their elders. Hence kids' channels in local languages are likely to be better watched.

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Swaraj Express SMBC, has commenced satellite test transmissions for its 'Swaraj Kannada' FTA news channel. The channel is downlinked from the INSAT-4A satellite at 83 degrees East.

Kannada News is the second largest news segment, with 15 channels, behind Hindi which has over 20 channels. Telugu is third, with 14 channels.

The iTV Network also plans to launch its 'News X Kannada' channel soon.

The top 5 Kannada news channels are: TV9 Kannada, Public TV, Suvarna News 24x7, News18 Kannada & Dighvijay 24x7 News.

INSAT-4A @ 83 deg E.
Encryption : Free-To-Air MPEG-4 / DVB S2
Frequency : 3755 MHz
Polarisation : Horizontal
Symbol Rate : 13,333 FEC 7/8

Table-1: Swaraj Kannada Downlink Details

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Hathway Bhawani Cabletel and Datacom (HBCD) has appointed Vatan Pathan as its Chief Executive Officer. He replaces Sameer Joseph, who quit in October 2017 & earlier Samson Jesudas, who had quit in September 2016.

Hathway Cable and Datacom chief financial officer (CFO) Vineet Garg has also resigned & quit as board director at Hathway Bhawani Cabletel and Datacom.

Hathway Bhawani is a subsidiary of Hathway Cable and Datacom with the company owning 51.6% stake.

It provides cable TV services in Mumbai, New Mumbai, Karjat, Mumbra. As of 31 March 2018, it had seeded 75,000 STBs.

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DEN Networks has appointed Himanshu Jindal as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with immediate effect. He replaces Rajesh Kaushall who had quit the position, after more than 10 years with DEN. Kaushall continues as an advisor to DEN.

Jindal is a Chartered Accountant with more than 15 years of experience.

Prior to DEN, Jindal was VP - Finance at Heidelberg Cement India.

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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has instructed the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to discontinue monitoring viewership of TV channels carried on the landing page.

BARC has also been asked to send a subsequent compliance report, high-lighting that noncompliance on the landing page advisory "shall be violation of the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India."

The move is surprising, given that the TRAI has; only a few days ago; floated a consultation paper on the issue, inviting comments to the debate.

The landing page is the page / TV channel displayed, when an STB is re-booted or switched on.

Like the cover page of a newspaper or magazine, it is a highly visible position, and provides placement fee for MSOs & DTH platforms.