Register here for a free copy of SATELLITE & CABLE TV Magazine, SMS & email Update

March 2019


On 17 January 2019, the government has seized a large stock of TataSky STBs, since they did not carry a MRP.

TataSky has moved the Delhi High Court explaining that the STBs were offered with a subscription package & not sold separately. Therefore, there was no need to indicate the MRP on them.

The DTH platform has also challenged the constitutional validity of the rule which makes it mandatory to declare MRP on STB packages. TataSky has also sought quashing of a 9th August 2018 circular which makes declaring the MRP on STB packages mandatory.

Appearing for Tata Sky, senior advocate P Chidambaram contended that the rule to declare MRP on STB packages was not required as it falls under the definition of 'industrial consumer' as per the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011.

The Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao has issued a notice to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs directing it to clear its stand on the petition by 1st March, the next date of hearing.

... Back to News Headlines


The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has said that the pay broadcasters will be raise invoices based on the TRAI's New Tariff Order, from 1st February.

The IBF issued this clarification after some its member broadcasters received queries from the distribution platform operators (DPOs) regarding submission of monthly subscriber reports (MSRs) and billing for the month of February after the TRAI declared that consumers be extended their old plans till 31st March.

The IBF reiterated that DPOs must provide their monthly subscriber reports (MSRs) as mandated under the New MRP Regime on the duly notified dates of 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of every month.

"Kindly note that from the month of February 2019 onwards our member broadcasters will be raising invoices on DPOs in accordance with the provisions stipulated by TRAI under the New MRP Regime," IBF said in the statement.

... Back to News Headlines


TV18 Broadcast Ltd has written to TRAI to complain against the incorrect genre categorization of the recently launched channel Republic Bharat.

The Hindi news channel owned by Arnab Goswami's ARG Outlier Asianet News, is being placed outside its declared genre - Hindi News - on over 100 cable networks countrywide.

"We verily believe that the said channel is being deliberately and mala fide, placed outside its genre at the behest of broadcaster of 'Republic Bharat' so as to enable 'Republic Bharat' to illegally garner higher BARC ratings and increase viewership," TV18 said in a statement dated 6 February, 2019.

A TRAI spokesperson admitted having received the complaint and said the regulator was examining the issue.

The Hindi News genre is fiercely competitive, and has large viewership numbers. Slotting Republic Bharat in other genres, would help it stand out of the clutter and attract Non English news viewers, also.

... Back to News Headlines


Business Television India (BTVI) COO Megha Tata has put in her papers, and will leave the FTA news channel on 15 March 2019.

From 1 April 2019, Megha Tata will join Discovery Communications India as - South Asia Managing Director.

A veteran of the media & entertainment industry, Megha has received multiple industry accolades in an illustrious career spanning more than 28 years. She has held leadership positions across eminent broadcasters such as BTVI, HBO, Turner International and STAR TV.

Megha will be based in Mumbai and report to Discovery Asia Pacific managing director and Discovery International chief financial officer Simon Robinson.

... Back to News Headlines


After being proded by the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology, the I&B ministry has appointed the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to conduct an impact assessment study on digitisation of Indian Cable TV.

In its 54th report, the Parliamentary Committee on IT pointed out that the MIB had not carried out any formal impact study on cable TV digitisation, to get a clear picture on how far CATV digitisation has actually achieved its intended objectives.

This will also enable the Government to intervene from time to time and take suitable corrective measures if need be.

... Back to News Headlines


The MIB has established a Management Information System (MIS) portal where all the licensed MSOs are mandatorily required to feed the number of STBs they have installed on consumer premises. The MIB claims that 90% of TV households have been seeded with STBs.

Suprisingly, the MIB also admits that 427 MSOs show poor or zero seeding of STBs. The government has threatened action and even cancellation of DAS licenses of these MSOs.

1470 DAS MSO licenses have been issued so far.

The ministry monitors the STB seeding staus through its 12 regional units across the country & interacts with Nodal Officers at the state and district levels.

... Back to News Headlines


The MIB has asked broadcasters & teleport operators to submit documents for their Department of Space (DoS) clearance, only through the online Broadcast Seva portal.

"It has been decided by the Ministry of I & B that all the broadcasters and teleport operators are hereon required to furnish the documents required for DOS clearance online only, while applying to MIB for new channel/teleport, change of satellite/teleport, and dual illumination. Accordingly, they are advised to upload all the requisite documents on the web portal and not to submit the physical copies of the same to this Ministry," the MIB said in a notice.

Launched in May 2017, the Broadcast Seva portal provides a single point facility for all applications for various permission, registrations, and licences, issued by the MIB for broadcast-related activities. It is part of the government's "Ease of Doing Business," initiative.

New DAS MSO applications are also to be submitted via this portal.

... Back to News Headlines


The TDSAT has refused an early hearing in the case filed by Fastway Transmissions, opposing the TRAI's nonimplementation of the 15% a-la-carte to bouquet discount cap.

The rule, a key clause in the New Tariff Order, disallows bouquet prices to be discount by more than 15% of the sum of the individual (a-la-carte) channel prices.

Explaining its position to the TDSAT, TRAI explained that the issues is being discussed in the Delhi High Court by Tata Sky, Airtel Digital & Sun Direct.

Based on this, the TDSAT said that it would not interfere in the process at this stage, given that constitutional courts are seized of the matter.

The tribunal therefore denied Fastway's motion for an early hearing into the matter.

... Back to News Headlines


9X Media and other music channels have filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court asking for a stay on the upcoming e-auction process as they feel the base prices for music channels are unaffordable for small broadcasters.

9X will have to vacate its existing slot on March 1, if it does not win a slot at the next auction.

  • Hindi music, sports and Bhojpuri GEC and movies come under Bucket B which has a reserve price of ₹ 10 crore.
  • Other music channels come under Bucket D with the lowest reserve price of ₹ 6 crore.

9X Media says it is a lossmaking entity with losses of ₹ 7.81 crore and negative earnings per share and such a decision could adversely impact its business. Its petition contends that FreeDish has effectively excluded all small non-profit making companies from being available to the public at large and instead prefers deep-pocketed ones.

9X Media also points out that companies running news channels such as TV Today Network and Zee Media are profit-making companies, but they have been slotted in Bucket C, subjected to a lower base price.

On Feb 4, the Delhi High Court reserved its judgement.

The court's verdict is now awaited.

... Back to News Headlines


As part of cost cutting measures, Prasar Bharati has decided to close down All India Radio's only national channel. It is also shutting 5 AIR regional training academies.

The order issued by the AIR Directorate General said "To rationalise AIR services and keeping in view of the cost-cutting measures, it has been decided by Prasar Bharati and communicated to DG AIR on December 24, 2018, to close down the national channel of AIR and Regional Academies of Broadcasting and Multimedia (RABMs) located at Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Shillong and Thiruvananthapuram with immediate effect."

The order added that the programmes of archival value maintained by the National channel should be sent to the central archives in Delhi for digitisation and preservation for posterity.

... Back to News Headlines


On 29 December Star Sports has launched Star Sports-1 Kannada, India's only sports channel in Kannada. Star Sports aims to provide quality viewing experience in local languages for its fans across India.

In 2018, Star Sports also launched Star Sports-1 Telugu, while Star Sports-1 Tamil was launched in 2017.

... Back to News Headlines


Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) has discontinued 3 of its high definition (HD) channels with effect from 1st January. The 3 channels are Sony Le Plex HD (English Movies), Sony Rox HD (Youth Music), and Sony Ten Golf HD (Golf).

The content of these 3 channels, will be carried on other SPNI channels.

... Back to News Headlines


I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore admitted in the Lok Sabha that the government has not yet finalised its new DTH policy.

Rathore added that the 4 DTH licenses with interim renewals lapsing on 31 December 2018 have been granted another interim extension up to 30 June 2019.

There are 5 private DTH platforms: Dish TV, Tata Sky, Sun Direct TV, Independent TV (formerly Reliance BIG TV), and Bharti Telemedia. All DTH licenses except that of Dish TV lapsed again in Dec 2018.

Last year TRAI had reiterated its recommendations on DTH which included a 20 years initial license with subsequent renewals of 10 years each.

... Back to News Headlines