The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has, in its recommendations for the proposed National Broadcasting Policy, stressed the need to position India as a ‘global content hub’ and ‘uplinking hub’ for TV channels. It also recommended ‘infrastructure status’ for the broadcasting sector to help access investments for newer technologies.

It recommended a 10-year roadmap with added focus on the next five years.

“The objective of the policy is to facilitate the growth of the sector with quick adoption of the emerging technologies for providing an immersive and enriching experience to the consumers in a cost-effective manner, while safeguarding the interest of the stakeholders involved in the broadcasting sphere,” a statement from the regulator said.

“Achieving these goals necessitates collaboration among the key stakeholders including the central and state governments, local governments and agencies, television and radio broadcasters, OTT service providers, content creators, distributors, equipment manufacturers, academia, research institutes, industry including startups, and small and medium enterprises,” it added.

Transparency, level-playing field

To propel the growth of the sector, it recommended creating a robust broadcasting ecosystem through data-driven governance. It said the policies should facilitate a “level-playing field and healthy competition”, enabling broadcasting services to reach all, and position India as an ‘uplinking hub’ for television channels, attracting investments, generating employment opportunities, and promoting skill development.

TRAI has suggested identifying districts with low TV penetration and creating an incentive scheme for cable TV and DTH operators to provide TVs and set-top boxes through bundled schemes in such areas. It also suggested leveraging fixed-line broadband infrastructure, including those created under BharatNet, to take television services to rural and low-density television areas.

Digital broadcasting

It suggested measures for seamless transition to digital radio broadcasting; “supporting quality content production and distribution for television, radio and OTT broadcasting services; and encouraging proliferation of Indian content, both locally and globally, by harnessing emerging broadcasting technologies to make India a ‘global content hub’.

To protect the interests of players, it said the policy should focus on combating piracy and safeguarding the rights of content creators and intellectual property holders through copyright protection.

It suggested leveraging digital terrestrial broadcasting as a complementary technology. Establishing an effective audience measurement and rating system is also among the recommendations for the proposed policy.