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New policy by The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for Regional channels.

15 May 2012  :: Regional channels have reason to celebrate. A landmark announcement has been made by The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) on May 11. MIB announced new policy guidelines for empanelment of private cable and satellite TV channels for government advertisements released by Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP).

According to the new policy, the existing criterion of 0.02 per cent all India channel share for empanelment with DAVP has been waived off. This will ensure large number of regional channels can be part of DAVP’s panel. The policy stipulates that out of the total annual budget allocation for Television Media Campaign, 40 per cent shall be exclusively earmarked for regional channels.

This announcement comes as a huge boost to regional channels, and is welcomed by the industry. The Association of Regional TV Broadcasters of India (ARTBI) revealed that their efforts have bore fruit.

Rakesh Sharma, Convener, ARTBI and CEO, Aaj Samaj said that they were in talks with the Government of India and had also met I&B Minister Ambika Soni. “Regional channels were being deprived. We hence spoke to the Minister and put our point forward that regional channels are doing a great service to the country by taking a message to the remotest part of the country, in regions where people view regional channels more than national channels. Therefore, to disseminate information of the government it is prudent and necessary to use these regional channels.” Sharma further shared, “MIB has announced a policy that has actually addressed majority of the issues of regional channels.

He expressed his gratitude to the I&B Minister for “this visionary and statutory step, which will go a long way in addressing the problems of regional channels”.

“We’re glad that regional channels have managed to secure the rightful share of ad spend and from the government’s point of view, it’s a good step to make regional channels viable in India. This will go a long way,” said Kartik Sharma, President, ARTBI and CEO, India News.

That this announcement was a big relief for regional channels was reiterated by Dinesh Gupta, Chairman, Sadhna News, Prabhatam Group when he said, “We had been trying to make this happen for some time, and we are happy that it has been finalised.”

The policy mentions that while finalising the media plan, it has to be ensured that bottom-up approach is adopted i.e. channels in that region should be first widely covered, followed by other mainstream channels. A regional channel, satisfying the criterion for empanelment at any point of time in the year, can apply to DAVP for empanelment without waiting for the annual schedule and DAVP, after scrutinising the applications and verification of laid down criteria may include the channel in the panel.

Rakesh Gupta, MD, Sadhana TV Group pointed out that so far, the government was only supporting small newspapers and that regional channels were being ignored. He stated that this move will give the required boost to regional and local channels.

Jagdish Chandra, Head – Hindi and Urdu channels, ETV also welcomed the move and said, “It’s great for regional channels and the credit goes to the I&B Minister who has come forward to protect the interest of regional channels.”

This will give a morale boost to regional channels as more than 80 per cent of the channels have been running on losses. This judicial move will give financial relief to them, said Chandra.

According to the MIB notification, the new rate structures are as under:

• Rs 23000/- shall be adopted as CPRP i.e. cost per one percent rating point and Rs 150/- as constant (a) to calculate the rates in terms of the above formula.

• Unit Rate – The unit rate for Government Spot shall be for 10 second duration.

• Time Bands – There shall be six time bands – i.e. 7AM to 9AM, 9AM to 12 Noon, 12 Noon to 7PM, 7PM to 8PM, 8PM to 10PM and 10PM to 11PM.

• In case of advertisement of 15, 25, 35, 45 seconds or any other duration which is in multiple of 5 seconds, the same will be payable on proportionate basis.

• For second year and third year, increase of CPRP and constant element shall be done with the prior approval of the Ministry.

• There shall be no rate for ticker/scroll, as running of scrolls, etc. using lower part of the screen apparently contravenes the Rule 10 of the Cable Television Network Rules 1994.

• Under the new guidelines there will be separate rates for Live cricket matches.

The notification also shares that no rate has been fixed for sponsored programmes. However, DAVP for any specific requirement will call for rates for a particular time band from the channels having similar TVRs in a given genre. Thlowest CPRP may be offered the rate for telecasting the programme. A rate may only be offered provided DAVP receives quotes from a minimum of four channels. The rate so fixed by DAVP shall apply to DAVP as well as to all AAs.

The policy also stipulates that there shall be a ceiling of two per cent on allocation of annual advertisement budget for groups/companies owning one to three channels and five per cent for groups/companies owning four or more channels. This provision shall be scrupulously adhered to by DAVP and the advertising agencies.

For the empanelment of agencies with DAVP certain criterion will have to be met at the time of application. This includes a minimum telecast period of one year of commercial broadcast with at least 16 hours telecast per day i.e. 7AM to 11PM; Government permission to the company for up-linking and down-linking and sufficient evidence of such operation; a certificate by either EMMC or any other reputed agency that a channel is continuously being aired; the programme scheduling i.e. Fixed Point Chart (FPC) for the previous 12 months from 7AM to 11PM, during which the companies operated; a certificate from the teleport operator through which the channel uplinks its programmes regarding the average time of operation of the channel; certificate duly signed by the Auditor/Company Secretary for the prescribed revenue details; latest profit and loss accounts, balance sheet and actual tax payment including service tax for previous financial year; and the amount of advertisement revenue generated by the channel during the previous financial year.

The policy stipulates that all applications seeking empanelment shall be placed before a panel advisory committee constituted for taking a final decision. The policy stipulates that a channel once empanelled shall remain on the panel of DAVP for a period of three years.

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