One of India’s leading news networks, ABP Network, has exhorted broadcast regulator TRAI to come up with regulations aimed at stopping misuse of the landing page by TV channels.
It has also rued the fact that news channels, which are part of News Broadcasters & Digital Association, were not invited to be part of the industry committee that the regulator formed before putting out a consultation paper on regulatory framework for broadcast and cable services.
“The evils of landing page misuse by news broadcasters to be addressed, especially keeping in mind the resumption of BARC ratings for News Channels and the usage of Landing Page resulting in ‘Viewership Malpractice’,” ABP Network has said in its submission to TRAI on a consultation paper relating to ‘Issues Related to New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services’.
Landing page is generally referred to the page that pops up when a viewer switches on the set-top-box and the TV set. This premium real estate on TV is monetised by distribution platforms by renting it to whoever pays for it. It is often used by TV channels to either promote themselves or shows.
Pointing out that it has made several representations to audience measurement company BARC on ‘landing outlier’ issue, ABP Network has said, “We feel such issues can be taken up along with this consultation since the said issue directly impacts the exercise of subscriber choice.”
Meanwhile, the submission went on to add that a committee was formed, as has been stated under para 1.27 of the consultation paper, consisting of members from IBDF, AIDCF and DTH Association, with certain terms of reference, but “no member of NBDA was invited to be a part of the said committee and which seems to be the reason why the concerns of news broadcasters have not been taken up in the current consultation process”.
“It is our considered view that the issues should not be taken up in isolation and a comprehensive viewpoint must be taken from all stakeholders of the industry,” ABP Network said, hoping either news broadcasters’ concerns were addressed now or a “separate consultation process gets initiated”.
“We at ABP Network Pvt. Ltd. welcome this initiative by the TRAI for having come up with a Consultation Paper on ‘Issues relating to New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services’. It is, however, being noticed that the issues posed for consultation are only limited and confined to the issues that directly arose as a result of the challenge to NTO 1.0 and 2.0 and also the Interconnect Regulations dated 3rd March 2017.
“The consultation process does not address or pose any questions on several other aspects which were also part and parcel of the very same Regulations and which essentially pertained to the issues faced by Free To Air (FTA)/Low priced Channels and concerns of these broadcasters, especially the news broadcasters, and the issues pertaining to ‘Carriage Fee’, ‘Target Market’ and the non-implementation of the TRAI Regulations dated 3rd March 2017 & 1st January 2020, etc.,” the submission said.