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COVID-19: Broadcasters say Ad bookings on TV channels halved

Advertising bookings on TV channels have halved because of the COVID-19 pandemic and there are delays in payments from brands as well, an umbrella body of broadcasters said on Monday.

The outbreak has also halted production of ongoing shows, cancellation of live sporting events like the IPL and also scheduled advertisements, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) said.

The body has written to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, seeking a slew of relief or stimulus measures for the industry.

“The outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have posed several challenges for the television broadcast sector,” its president N P Singh said.

Singh added that there has been a complete cessation of production of television shows, cancellations of live sporting events and scheduled advertisements, advertisement bookings nosediving by 50 per cent, and also delays in payments by advertising agencies/advertisers and distribution platform operators.

He said the sector is seeking a stimulus from the government in the form of both economic relief and also regulatory flexibility so that all broadcasters, especially the smaller businesses, can be helped to get back on track.

The demands made include a reduction on the Goods and Services Tax rate on digital services, automatic refund of input credit and immediate processing and issuance of Lower Withholding order (LTDS), he said.

It also includes a “regulatory moratorium” for the sector for 18 months, phased resumption of production activities, waiver of processing fee and temporary live uplinking fee for live sporting events for a period of one year, suspension of requirement of performance bank guarantees for channels to be launched for a period of one year. Latestly

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