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Centre caps platform channels on DTH at 5 pc of total capacity

The government on Friday capped the number of platform channels on direct-to-home (DTH) services at 5 per cent of the operators’ total channel carriage capacity.

The operational guidelines in respect of “licence fee”, “platform services” and “sharing of infrastructure” for DTH services in India, issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), also bar the platform service channel from sharing content directly or indirectly with any other distribution platform operator (DPO).

Platform service channels are programmes transmitted by DPOs exclusively to their own subscribers. The definition excludes Doordarshan and registered television channels as also the foreign channels not registered in India.

“The content of the PS to be exclusive to the platform and is not to be shared directly or indirectly with any other Distribution Platform Operator,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines, which came into effect from Friday, mandate all platform service channels to carry a caption as “platform services” (PS) to distinguish those from the linear channels.

With respect to sharing of infrastructure by the DTH operators, the guidelines provide the framework in which it may be regulated, lay down the procedures for accountability and compliance and define individual responsibilities of the sharing parties, according to an official statement.

In case the same programme is found available on the PS of any other DPO, the MIB may issue directions to immediately stop the transmission of such programmes, the guidelines said.

“The MIB also reserves the right for cancellation of registration of such PS of the DTH operator,” the guidelines added.

A one-time, non-refundable registration fee of Rs 10,000 per PS channel shall be charged from the DTH operators.

The guidelines also state that the licensee shall pay an annual fee equivalent to 8 per cent of its adjusted gross revenue, calculated by excluding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the gross revenue as reflected in the audited accounts of the company for that particular financial year.

Furthermore, the notice stated that the minimum annual licence fee shall be subject to 10 per cent of the entry fee.

In the case of general sharing of the infrastructure, the DTH operators may share the DTH platform infrastructure on a voluntary basis, the guidelines said.

The infrastructure sharing of DTH platforms will be allowed for DTH services and the programme transmitted by the DTH operators as a platform service shall be exclusive and the same shall not be allowed to be shared directly or indirectly with any other DPO. PTI

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