Only entities registered as ‘companies’ will be allowed to provide local news and current affairs, the guidelines issued by the government stated.
As per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for Platform Services, MSOs (Multi System Operators) not registered as “company” and desirous of providing local news and current affairs are mandatorily required to apply within three months with Ministry of Corporate Affairs for conversion into “company”.
The guidelines said that a simple online registration process for PS channels by MSOs is at nominal fees of Rs 1,000 per PS channel. It also said that the total number of permitted PS channels per operator is to be capped at 5 per cent of the total channel carriage capacity.
The Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, permit Multi-System Operators (MSOs) to transmit their own programming service, either directly to their own subscribers or through one or more Local Cable Operators.
These own programming services referred to as Platform Services (PS), which also include most ‘local-channels’, are exclusive programming services being generated at local level offered by MSOs.
In accordance to the Rule 6(6) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994; the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Wednesday issued the guidelines in respect of ‘Platform Services’ provided by MSOs in India.
To cater to the need of the local language and culture of the subscribers, the cap on PS channels shall be computed at the level of state/ union territory.
Also, additionally, 2 PS channels shall be permitted at the level of each District to cater to the need of local content at the District level.
Besides, all PS channels will have to carry a caption as ‘Platform Services’ to distinguish them from the registered TV channels.
The guidelines included that the content of the PS to be exclusive to the platform and is not to be shared directly or indirectly with any other Distribution Platform Operator.
However, sharing of live feeds from the religious places like Temples, Gurudwaras etc., shall be permitted.
All PS channels will be placed together under genre ‘Platform Services’ in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) along with their Maximum Retail Price and option for activation / de-activation of PS as per the applicable orders / directions / regulation(s) of TRAI.
MSOs offering PS, to retain recording of all PS channel programmes for a period of 90 days, said the guidelines.
The Ministry said that the guidelines have been issued to ensure that network capacity of Cable Operators is utilised primarily for the same.
Also, sufficient provisions have been made in the guidelines for MSOs to cater to the demand of local contents by their subscribers.