India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Friday announced new guidelines for DTH operators’ payments of annual licence fee and the platform services, which are channels carried by distribution platform operators.
Interestingly, MIB has said that the content of the platform services will have to be exclusive to a platform and is not to be shared directly or indirectly with any other distribution platform operator (DPO).
Now, this point can raise the hackles of several platform services’ channels if they are presently getting carried by multiple DPOs. What impact the latest government directive would or could have on the platform services is yet not clear.
As for the DTH operators, the MIB states guidelines define payment of the annual license fee schedule as quarterly.
This could be a big relief to the DTH operators who could now better manage their cash flow and pay the annual licence fee in easy instalments instead of making it at one go.
In respect to platform services channels, the guidelines provide the definition for the ‘platform services’ and lay down the norms for the DTH operators in running the platform services.
The total number of permitted platform services channels per operator is to be capped to 5 percent of the total channel carriage capacity.
All such services would have to carry a caption stating they are ‘Platform Services’ so as to distinguish them from the linear channels.
All platform services channels will have to be placed together under the genre ‘Platform Services’ in the EPG, along with their maximum retail price and option for activation /deactivation as per the applicable orders/directions/ regulation(s) of broadcast regulator TRAI.
In respect to sharing of infrastructure by the DTH operator, the operational guidelines provide the framework in which the sharing may be regulated and lays down the procedures for accountability and compliance, while defining individual responsibilities of the sharing entities.
MIB said these operational guidelines come into effect from the date of the issue of the order, September 16, 2022.