India gets tough for new channels

The past few months have seemed to herald a softer time for foreign channels trying to gain entry into India’s buoyant broadcasting market.  Not quite. New rules issued October7 by India’s powerful Information and Broadcasting Ministry has set high tariff rules for would-be broadcasters.

The rules come with a message designed to deter non-serious applicants from “crowding the electronic media landscape” said a statement.  Would-be foreign broadcasters have to stump up 50 million Rupees (about $1m) for downlinking their first entertainment channel. The ‘fees’ are in the form of net worth statements and a Performance Bank Guarantee (PBG). In the event of the channel not broadcasting within one year the PBG is forfeited.

Applicants for transmitting news/current affairs channels have to show 20 Crore Rupees (about $4m).

BBC Monitoring, in a report from New Delhi, says license will be for 10 years. “Permission fees for uplinking or downlinking of TV channels and setting up of teleports would be 2 lakhs [100,000] rupees per channel or teleport per annum. The permission fee for downlinking of TV channels uplinked from India would be 5 lakhs rupees per channel per annum. Permission fee for downlinking of TV channels uplinked from abroad would be 15 lakhs rupees per channel per annum.

Currently, the I and B Ministry has granted permission to 745 private satellite TV channels, out of which 366 TV channels fall in the category of news and current affairs and 379 in the category of non-news and current affairs.

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