New Delhi: The government on Wednesday asked multi-system operators to apply to register as a “company” within the next three months if they wish to provide local news and current affairs programmes on their networks as platform services.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued guidelines that 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.
The ministry has put in place a simple online registration process for PS channels by MSOs at nominal fees of Rs 1,000 per channel.
The total number of permitted PS channels per operator is to be capped at five per cent of the total channel carriage capacity.
The guidelines also state that two PS channels shall be permitted at the level of each district to cater to the need of local content at the district level.
“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 religious places like temples, gurudwaras shall be permitted,” the guidelines said.
All PS channels shall be placed together under genre ‘Platform Services’ in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) along with their Maximum Retail Price and option for activation-deactivation according to the applicable directives of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), they added.
The MSOs offering PS will have to retain recording of all PS channel programmes for a period of 90 days.
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