Information and Broadcasting Ministry issues guidelines for platform services offered by multi-system operators

The guidelines provide the definition for the ‘platform services (PS)’ and lay down the norms for the MSOs

November 30, 2022

Business

4 min

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New Delhi [India], November 30 (ANI): The government on Wednesday came out with guidelines in respect of platform services provided by multi-system operators (MSOs) in India.
These guidelines provide the definition for the ‘platform services (PS)’ and lay down the norms for the MSOs in running the platform services, in accordance to the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.
MSOs have been granted a period of 12 months to comply with these guidelines.
These 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, according to a release from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
These guidelines for these platform services included a simple online registration process for PS channels by MSOs at a nominal fee of Rs 1,000 per PS channel and that, only entities registered as companies are allowed to provide local news and current affairs.
MSOs which are not registered as “company” and desirous of providing local news and current affairs are mandatorily required to apply within three months with the ministry of corporate affairs for conversion into “company”. A multiple-system operator (MSO) is an operator of multiple cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems.
The statement also said the total number of permitted PS channels per operator is to be capped at 5 per cent of the total channel carriage capacity. To cater to the need of the local language and culture of subscribers, this cap on PS channels shall be computed at the level of state/Union Territory, the statement of I-B ministry stated, adding that 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.
It said all PS channels should carry a caption as ‘platform services’ to distinguish them from the registered TV channels. It also the content of the PS should 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 religious places like temples, gurudwaras, etc, shall be permitted.
The statement said all PS channels should 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, according to the applicable regulations of TRAI.
It also said MSOs which offer PS, to retain and record all PS channel programmes for a period of 90 days.
In terms of complaints, any content-related complaint shall be examined by the authorised officer prescribed under the CTN Act, 1995, and the state/district monitoring committee.
In other norms, cable operators are granted registration for the distribution of registered TV channels.
The above guidelines have been issued to ensure that the 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 for local contents by their subscribers.
Further, these guidelines mandate the adherence to programme code and advertisement code in respect to content on PS channels, keeping recording for 90 days, etc., and shall help in combating the menace of piracy. (ANI)

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