The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Wednesday released norms for platform service channels for multi-system operators (MSOs). Platform services (PS) channels are exclusive programming services offered at the local level by MSOs and are not registered channels.

According to the guidelines, the number of platform service channels that MSOs are now permitted to carry has been capped at 5 per cent of their total carriage capacity.

“To cater to the need of the local language and culture of the subscribers, this cap on PS channels will be computed at the level of State/Union Territory. Also, additionally, two PS channels will be permitted at the level of each district to cater to the need of local content at the district level,” the Ministry added in a statement. All such channels will also need to carry a caption to distinguish them from registered TV channels, the statement added.

MSOs will also need to register their PS channels online for a fee of ₹1,000 per channel. The Ministry said an online registration portal for this purpose is under preparation and will be notified shortly.

“The content of the PS should be exclusive to the platform and is not to be shared directly or indirectly with any other Distribution Platform Operator. However, sharing of live feeds from the religious places like Temples, Gurudwaras etc. shall be permitted,” the guidelines added.

Programming guide

On the Electronic Programming Guide, all such PS channels will need to be listed under the genre “platform services” along with the MRP besides other details. MSOs have been given 12 months to comply with these guidelines.

“Cable operators are granted registration for the distribution of registered TV channels. The PS guidelines have been issued to ensure that network capacity of cable operators is utilised primarily for the same. Also, sufficient provisions have been made in the guidelines for MSOs to cater to the demand of local contents by their subscribers,” the Ministry stated. It added that the guidelines mandate the adherence to Programme Code and Advertisement Code in respect to content on PS channels, keeping of recording for 90 days and will help in combating the menace of Piracy.