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Remove cross-media ownership restrictions in DTH sector: IBF

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 24, 2020

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) on Thursday said that the revisions in the guidelines for the DTH sector will provide certainty and fuel the growth of the sector. However, it stressed on the need for removing vertical cross-media ownership restrictions in the DTH sector.

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry released the revised guidelines for the DTH sector on Wednesday, which will enable players to get longer-duration licences, while licence fee was reduced from 10 per cent of gross revenues to 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenues. However, the cap on shareholding of broadcasters in the DTH sector at 20 per cent in accordance with cross-holding ownership norms has been left untouched.

“These revisions will help to provide certainty and to grow the DTH sector, which already serves about 70 million households across the country. Growth in the DTH sector will help boost India’s television penetration — which is still only at 70 per cent,” the industry body stated.

“However, in terms of inspiring investment in the sector, a unique vertical investment restriction persists for DTH — a restriction absent in cable or IPTV. IBF urges the government to strongly reconsider removing the cross-media ownership restrictions in DTH which is stifling the growth of the sector as such restrictions work against convergence and economies of scale,” the IBF statement added.

The industry body said that the DTH industry could benefit from natural synergies and efficiencies between broadcasters and platforms, similar to cable TV and IPTV. “We hope the government will consider bringing in a level playing field in terms of investment in the sector as well, and remove this restriction,” IBF added.

Published on December 24, 2020

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