Tax squabble blacks out India TV

A fear that new advertising billing methods would not be approved by India’s taxation authorities ended up with many high profile TV channels not airing commercials during ad breaks on May 1st.

Affected channels include most of the Star networks, Zee TV and Viacom-backed Colors.

A rolling ticker was being screened on air by the Star channels, saying: “Ads are not running on this channel because advertising agencies have refused to accept revisions in billing methods which are seen as flawed by tax authorities. We regret any inconvenience but Star group is committed to doing business with the highest standards of compliance which reflects the true commercial arrangement between advertisers and broadcasters.”

News Broadcasters Association (NBA) board member Anurradha Prasad said the ad ban was being backed by his association. “We need to get this issue resolved quickly. The income tax authorities have been sending us notices for tax which is not our responsibility. Hopefully, this black out will put an end to the net bill confusion, though channel losses could be substantial.”

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