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Think aloud for a broadcast regulator: Manish Tewari

New Delhi, April 18 (ANI):Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari asked the broadcast industry to “think aloud” to have a separate broadcast regulator at the 4th CII CEOs Roundtable on Broadcast.

Addressing more than 70 top broadcast industry leaders, the minister once again mooted the idea of “techno-commercial” regulator for the broadcast sector which is witnessing rapid changes in the wake of cable TV digitization. He also made it clear that content will not be regulated by the Government.

Tewari further re-emphasised commitment from the Government to execute cable TV digitization and protect interests of the consumers as they are the largest stakeholder in digitization exercise. 38 cities in 15 States of India are experiencing cable TV Digital broadcast from April 1, 2013.

In a major relief to broadcast channels, Tewari maintained that a solution will be brought about to TRAI’s recent regulation which bars television channels from telecasting more than 12 minutes of advertisements every hour.

He said the broadcast landscape is changing in the country with digitization and this issue of fixing time slots for advertisements will be taken up at an appropriate time. He also expressed concern on TAM TRP data and said that Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) should be created at the earliest.

Interacting with stakeholders of cable TV digitization in the subsequent session of the CII Roundtable, Uday Kumar Varma,Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said the entire exercise of digitization was to bring out a transparent mechanism, credible subscriber data and finally ensure that dividends of digitization reach the end consumers. “We have discarded a system which was not transparent and moving towards a system which has to be transparent.”

The Government favoured domestic manufacturing and deployment of set-top box and may also consider fixing certain percentage (for domestic manufacturers) for reaching out to the next 50 million consumers in the subsequent phases of digitization. Shri Uday Kumar Varma requested domestic set-top box manufactures to match up with quality, price, and competitive standards as acceptable to MSOs.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is also looking at the status of channel aggregators, in the wake of queries on their ‘legal status’ in the digitization process.

In their opening observation, K V L Narayan Rao, Executive Vice Chairperson, NDTV Ltd and Harit Nagpal MD and CEO Tata Sky congratulated Manish Tewari, Shri Uday Kumar Varma and the entire team at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for engaging and facilitating the industry for a smooth execution of cable TV digitization in the first two phases.

The CII Roundtable on Broadcast provided a platform for broadcasters, MSOs, Local Cable Operators, civil Society representatives to deliberate key issues of concern and getting instant response from the Government. (ANI)

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