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Indian Broadcasting Foundation urges removal of cross-media ownership barriers

 Welcoming the Union Cabinet’s decision on revising guidelines for direct-to-home (DTH) service broadcasters, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation on Thursday urged the government to also remove ross-media ownership restrictions in the sector to help it expand.

“We laud the government’s push to bring a level playing field between DTH and cable TV in terms of license fees. Growth in the DTH sector will help boost India’s television penetration – which is still only at 70%,” it added.

As per revised guidelines, DTH licenses will now be issued for a period of 20 years instead of 10 years, as is the norm now, with a renewal every 10 years.

However, in terms of inspiring investment in the sector, a unique vertical investment restriction persists for DTH – one that is absent in cable or IPTV, as per the Foundation.

“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,” it said in a statement, adding that like cable or IPTV, DTH could benefit from natural synergies and efficiencies between a broadcaster and platform.

“We hope the government will consider bringing in a level playing field in terms of investment in the sector as well, and remove this,” IBF said in the statement.

IBF is a non-profit organisation that represents the interests of television broadcasters in the country. Livemint

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