Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Govt still considering giving more teeth to PCI: MIB Secy

The UPA Government is considering giving the Press Council of India (PCI) more teeth by amending the PCI Act, 1978.
It is feared that such an amendment may affect the freedom of expression of journalists as already there are self-regulatory bodies in place. Moreover, the question arises whether PCI already has enough powers, even as the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression?

Matrimonial TV channel ‘Shagun’ goes on air on May 1

Noida based Vertant Media launched the first matrimonial TV channel, Shagun. The channel will go on air from May 1, 2013. The 24×7 matrimonial channel will be launched initially on the Videocon DTH platform and will be extended to other DTH players later. On the cable platform, it will be available in 15 cities, including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, among others.

NDTV Profit in revamp mode

New Delhi Television (NDTV) is planning to revamp channel NDTV Profit, its ailing English business news. It would also cut costs by shifting the production control room from Mumbai to New Delhi.
About 50 of the company's employees have been asked to shift to Delhi or given options.

Sahara One elevates Arpit Agarwal to business head

Sahara One has a new business head in senior TV executive Arpit Agarwal.
Agarwal was earlier head of strategic management advisory group (media & entertainment) in the Sahara Group chairman Subroto Roy's office.

RBNL reshuffles top management

Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL) has announced a number of key changes in its top level management.
Ashwin Padmanabhan, the Former Business Head for West and South, will take over as the Business Head for the entire network. Padmanabhan has been a part of Big FM since its inception and began his career as a Station Head for its Hyderabad Station.

Supreme Court agrees to examine validity of Information Technology rules

The Supreme Court on 29 April to examine the validity of Information Technology Rules making it mandatory for a website owner to screen content and exercise online censorship of the contents posted on the portal.
A bench of justices T S Thakur and S J Mukhopadhaya issued the notice to the Centre and all the states on a PIL filed by a company Mouthshut.com India) Pvt, which runs a portal mouthshut.com, challenging Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.

Huawei to set up R&D centre in Bangalore; invest $150 m

Huawei will set up a new research and development centre in Bangalore with an investment of $150 million (about Rs 813 crore) in the second half of this year.
“Since 2004, we have invested around $200 million in activities around research and development. We are setting up new R&D centre in Bangalore with an additional investment of about $150 million to consolidate our operations under one facility,” Huawei Technologies Head (International Media Affairs) Scott Sykes said.

UPC DTH launching Travel Channel HD

UPC DTH, the provider in Central and Eastern Europe, is further enhancing its HD line-up with the addition of Travel Channel HD on UPC Direct in Hungary, freeSAT in Czech and Slovakia and Focus Sat in Romania.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

BBC WW’s Davie Focus on premium content

Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide, has suggested that the corporation’s commercial arm still has a lot of organic growth potential from its activities, admitting that in the past, such growth had often come from acquisition of ‘low-hanging’ properties. 
Davie, who assumed the role April 2nd following a spell as Acting Director-General following the resignation of George Entwistle in November 2012, is seeking to reorganise the unit’s operations, re-establishing a geographic identity. Having effectively served as the BBC’s editor-in-chief, he sees a similar responsibility in his new position. “I want to drive a lot more editorially with a focus on premium content. Focus can deliver growth,” he told the FT Digital Media Conference 2013 in London. He drew attention to BBC Worldwide’s recent deal with Foxtel in Australia for the new BBC premium content channel. “This will have high-end, top-end content,” he advised. He suggested that BBC’s channels business was a ‘nascent’ sector with growth potential, but stressed that concepts such as ‘BBC Earth’, based on the corporation’s extensive natural history library gave rise to channel, live event and branding opportunities. 

Yahoo! Inc Chairman Fred Amoroso resigns

Yahoo! Inc Chairman Fred Amoroso is resigning effective immediately, the struggling internet company announced on 25 April. 
Amoroso will be replaced in the chairman role by director Maynard Webb Jr on an interim basis until the company's annual shareholder meeting on June 25. 

Rupert Murdoch stands to make 15% more after News Corp split

After News Corp. splits later this year, chairman and chief executive officer Rupert Murdoch’s total target compensation will rise 15%, according to a regulatory filing on 26 April. 
The increase in compensation coincides with News Corp’s planned separation of its publishing assets such as The Wall Street Journal and Times of London from its entertainment properties like Fox Broadcasting. Murdoch will be chairman of both companies. 

China shuts down movie piracy websites

Chinese authorities have shut down two movie pirating websites in a clampdown on both online and offline piracy. YYeTs.com suddenly closed down on April 25th, but a notice on the site’s official Sina Weibo account says that it’s only temporary. The other site, Siluhd.com (Silu HD) was forcibly taken down and CEO Zhou Mou and eight other employees reportedly arrested. 
Silu HD is said to be China’s biggest piracy site of HD movies, and has been online in plain sight for over a decade. It claims to have 140 million registered users, Chinese media reports that the Silu HD site was subtle, hiding its movies behind a paywall. 

India's first matrimonial channel ‘Shagun’ launched

India's first 24-hours matrimonial channel Shagun, which will feature various pre-nuptial and post-nuptial programmes, was launched on 26 April 2013 at New Delhi. 
A venture of Nodia based company Vertent Media, the channel has feature shows related to wedding, astrology, relationships, shopping and will be hosted by TV actors Manini Mishra, Richa Soni, Utkarsha Naik among others. 

BCCC approves telecast of 'Satyamev Jayate's pesticide episode

Aamir Khan's show, 'Satyamev Jayate' was in trouble with the Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) after an episode on pesticides went on air on June 24 last year. 
PMFAI said that the episode had no experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Central Insecticides Board or Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and in the complaint, had written that "further telecast of Satyamev Jayate should be stopped" as they were spreading wrong, unscientific information. 

Yash Chopra, Rajesh Khanna to receive Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award

Filmmaker Yash Chopra, Rajesh Khanna, legendary playback singer Asha Bhosale are among those Bollywood legends, who will be honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards here on April 30. 
Bhosale will be presented with the Phalke Ratna Award for her contribution in the field of music for five decades. 

I&B ministry celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who inaugurated a six-day-long film festival, marking the 100 years of Indian cinema, said that if there is something that truly epitomizes the diverse and unique cultural ethos of this country then it is definitely the 'Indian Cinema'. He also added that the Government would make all possible efforts to make India a major International Filming Destination.Cine celebrities like Ramesh Sippy, Vishal Bhardwaj from Bollywood and Nagarjuna Akkineni, Rana Daggubati from south and Veteran Oriya cinematographer-filmmaker Apurba Kishore Bir and many others graced the event.

Cisco adds mobile video capabilities

IT services firm Cisco has added live TV and mobile video capabilities to its portfolio by enhancing its video delivery platform. The new capabilities were showcased last week at the Cisco video summit in New Delhi, an annual event for the company’s customers and partners in the cable and broadcast sector. Cisco has also made an investment in Apalya Technologies, a managed service provider of video streaming to the leading telecom operators and handset makers.

M-GO for Samsung Smart TVs

M-GO, the digital entertainment service joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor, has confirmed that owners of 2012 Samsung Smart TVs are the first to gain access to M-GO’s deep library of movies and TV shows streaming on demand directly on their Smart TVs. The free M-GO app will be featured in the ‘What’s New’ section of Samsung Apps on Samsung’s Smart Hub. 
“Samsung is transforming the home entertainment experience by giving consumers control, choice and access to their favourite content on the largest screen in the home,” said Eric Anderson, vice president, content and product solutions at Samsung Electronics America. “By being the first to offer M-GO to Smart TVs owners, consumers can get more of the movies and TV shows they love streaming right to their TV.” 

DoT seeks greater powers for Trai

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has proposed to tweak the Telecom Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2013 to empower the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). According to DoT, Trai should have the power to lay down a framework on consumer grievance redressal for telecom service providers to follow. 
In a note for the Cabinet on the proposed Bill, DoT has also proposed that Trai should have the power to impose penalties on telcos which don't comply with its orders and regulations. 

I&B Minister Manish Tewari's Update On Phase II Digitisation Data

The level of cable television digitisation in 38 cities in 14 states and one union territory of Phase II has touched 89.8 per cent, including 28.33 per cent DTH homes as on 21 April, three weeks after analogue switch-off.
Thus, a total of 14,379,454 digital set top boxes have been seeded out of a total demand of 16,013,059 total TV households. The houses where STBs have been installed include 4,536,676 DTH subscribers.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Cable TV players eye broadband services in villages

Cable TV operators have expressed interest in offering broadband services in rural areas in a bid to generate additional revenues. 
The Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI) along with the Internet Service Providers Association of India is developing a proposal that will identify the large network of cable operators present across the villages and smaller towns. 

DigiDev TV launches new websites and channel

The Digital Development Group (DigiDev), a Hollywood-based OTT (TV content acquisition and distribution company, has launched its new websites, www.digidev.com and the Beta version of www.digidev.tv 
Joe Q. Bretz, President of DigiDev, says, DigiDev is the next logical step in the successful distribution of the Private Screenings film library. Our team has been working day and night to bring our consumers and content providers the next generation of the DigiDev platform, starting with the newly launched corporate web site, www.digidev.com and consumer site at www.digidev.tv.” 

Mumbai HC restrains channel from telecasting news against Salman Khan

Justice S J Kathawalla was hearing a suit filed by Salman seeking a written apology from ABP News channel for telecasting a news item allegedly defamatory to the actor. 
Salman Khan approached the high court seeking an injunction on broadcast or telecast of such defamatory news items and direction to the channel to either submit a written apology or telecast an apology. 

Himmat Butalia joining AXN India as Mktg Director

After a stint of six years and five months, Himmat Butalia, Marketing Head, Sony Pix has put in his papers. He is joining AXN India as Marketing Director. Butalia takes charge of his new role in June 2013. 
In his new role, Butalia will be reporting to Sunil Punjabi, Business Head, AXN, India Networks. 

Turner International India appoints Dhawal Katkar as senior director

Turner International India has appointed Dhawal Katkar as Senior Director & Network Head for its English vertical. 
In his new role, Katkar will take on newer responsibilities for managing integrated communications and the content portfolio of Turner's English vertical which includes HBO and WB. 

Disney India joins hands with Supertech

Disney India, on 52 April, tied up with realty firm Supertech for a Disney-themed housing project in Greater Noida at an investment of about Rs.500 crore. 
The partnership comes close on the heel of its tie-up with Italian fashion brand Armani group for interior designing of 100 super-luxury flats in one of the mixed-use projects at Noida. 

Ten Sports acquires broadcast rights for Tour de France

Ten Sports channel has acquired the broadcast rights for Tour de France till 2016 for the Indian subcontinent, including the 100th edition of the gruelling cycle race to be held this year. 
The Zee Group-owned network would be exclusive rights holder in Indian subcontinent with the exception of rights being shared with the pan-regional broadcaster Eurosport in Sri Lanka, a media release said here today. 

Broadcasters shift to net billings, creating a flash point with agencies

Starting April billing cycle, Indian broadcasters have started sending bills to agencies on net amounts. This follows notices from the Income Tax department to broadcasters demanding tax payable on the 15 per cent difference between what broadcasters bill and their net realisation. 
Subsequent to receipt of these notices, IBF sent advisories to its members to shift from the current system of gross billings to net billings. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Monica Tata appointed Managing Director of HBO India

Monica Tata has been appointed as Managing Director of HBO India. Tata joins the leading home entertainment network with immediate effect and will be based in Mumbai and report to Jonathan Spink, CEO, HBO Asia. 
She will be responsible for introducing and developing various initiatives to enhance the company’s offerings in India and its sub-continent, including providing strategic direction and managing partner relationships. 

Star Plus manages to stay ahead of Max in IPL Week 3

Star Plus has managed to retain its No. 1 position during the IPL season for the third consecutive as per TAM ratings for Week 16 (April 14 – April 20) of 2013. 
According to viewership data for CS 4+, HSM markets, Star Plus clocked 233 GRPs, losing 19 points as compared to its last week’s GRPs of 252. Sony Max has garnered 211 GRPs in Week 16, losing 23 points as compared to last week’s 234 GRPS. This is also in stark contrast to 344 GRPs that Sony Max had recorded in 2012 during IPL Week 3. 

Non-Availability Of STB � Allahabad High Court Mandates Information &Broadcasting To Make Arrangements

Information and Broadcasting ministry has been mandated by Allahabad High Court that they need to make interim arrangements if any subscriber complains that he has not received the STB from the cable operator.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

NPD: Apple dominates Internet video market

In common with digital music downloads, the decade-old iTunes Store leveraged first-mover advantage, and popular devices, to command the lead in digital downloads of movies and TV shows, according to global information company The NPD Group. 
The firm says that Apple dominates the home digital-video sector, in much the same way it dominates digital music. iTunes’ share of electronic sell-through (EST) for television shows reached 67 per cent in 2012. Electronic Sell Through (EST) television sales fr0m Xbox Video, Apple’s nearest competitor, comprised 14 per cent of the market. When it comes to feature-length movies, iTunes boasted a 65 per cent share of EST, with Amazon and Xbox Video far behind at 10 per cent each. 

Reliance Jio and Bharti in cable tie-up for broadband

They might be locking horns in the 4G long-term evolution (LTE) space soon. Nonetheless, Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Jio Infocomm today signed an agreement with Bharti Airtel; under the pact, Reliance Jio Infocomm would have exclusive right to use Bharti’s 3,100-km submarine cable i2i connecting Chennai to Singapore. 
With a capacity of 8.4 terra bits per second (tbps), Reliance would use one of the eight fibre pairs in the cable. The capacity is substantial, considering the fact that one tbps, according to experts, can support 250,000 units of high definition video conferencing simultaneously across the country. However, the capacity is in consonance with its strategy to bank on high-speed data for launching 4G LTE services. 

Tata Sky Inks Deal With Kantar to Measure TV Viewership

Measurement is coming to DTH, it appears. WPP owned Kantar Media will now measure the behavior and viewing habits of users on the News Corp owned Tata Sky DTH network in India. It’s a multi-year audience measurement contract, and data will be measured using Rapid View, a “return path data technology” which collects audience data directly from set top boxes. Kantar will work with IMRB. 
However, this is not going to be a census: Kantar and IMRB will take a panel based approach, signing up an opt-in panel. According to Kantar Media’s website, Rapid View can even allow a census based approach, but since it hasn’t been deployed from the initial days of Tata Sky, it possibly has to take a panel based approach. The challenge with a panel versus a census is that smaller channels tend to lose out. It’s not clear how that return path will be established, since DTH set top boxes don’t come with a return path enabled. The product essentially targets TV operators, helping them with data for making “smarter business decisions in advertising sales, subscriber marketing and other areas.” 

FilmOn offers free satellite ‘net transmission

FilmOn founder Alki David has unveiled a new service which he claims allows the UK public to watch any free-to-air satellite TV channel legally, without the need for a contract or a set-top box. 
The service – available free via FilmOn.com – enables viewers to connect directly to a broadcaster’s satellite and digital over-the-air feeds via their PC or smartphone. Viewers can then watch the channel of their choice live and for free (including channels from mainstream broadcasters in the UK such as ITV, BBC, and Channel 4). According to David, all viewers need to do is simply go to FilmOn.com via the web or any of its apps and choose what they want to watch. “Viewers then receive content via their own unique satellite dish or micro antenna which is assigned to them when they connect to any one of our many European, American, Middle Eastern and soon-to-be-launched Asian antenna farms,” he explained. 

Time Warner and CBS “marriage makes sense”

A “marriage” between media giant Time Warner and network broadcaster CBS “now makes more sense than ever” according to a Bloomberg report. Investment analysts at Gabelli & Co suggest that buying the USA’s most-watched broadcast network would give Time Warner, owner of cable channels such as CNN and TNT, more negotiating leverage to win higher fees from pay-television systems that carry its programming. 

Star Jasha and Star Utsav launch on ATN Canada

Asian Television Network (ATN), Canada's largest south Asian broadcaster, has signed licensing agreements under which it has been granted exclusive rights to the two channels. STAR Utsav will complement ATN's five Hindi general entertainment channels and STAR Jalsha will complete its four channel strong bouquet of Bangla language channels from India and Bangladesh. 
The Canadian premiere of these two channels commenced last week on Bell Fibe TV in Metro Toronto and Montreal. The two channels will have a free preview for 60 days. In addition to the existing subscriber base, with the launch of these new channels, ATN expects to gain new subscribers through cable, satellite and IPTV platforms across Canada. 

Zee Learn promotes Navneet Anhal as CEO

Zee Learn said on 23 April it has promoted Navneet Anhal as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 
Prior to this appointment, Anhal was the Chief Operating Officer at Zee Learn, the company said in a statement. 

DD on studio upgradation drive

A total of 39 studio centres in the country have been taken up for full digitization as part of the ongoing scheme of digitization of Doordarshan’s Network, Parliament has been informed. 
State of the art digital equipment would therefore be made available at the studio centres in the north east states on a par with other similar studio centres in the country. 

Disney UTV Digital launches Freemium Apps for feature phones

Disney UTV Digital has launched a bouquet of four ’freemium (free + premium) apps’ - UTV, Disney, Comedy and Devotional for feature phone users in the country. 
Content in the apps includes latest movie trailers, full length movies (Bollywood and Regional), Disney classics, humorous videos like MENtals as well as stories of Indian deities like Maa Durga and Sai Baba, Disney UTV said in a statement. 

Cisco enhances Videoscape architecture in India

Networking solution provider Cisco said on 23 April it has integrated the video delivery platform of Apalya Technologies Pvt Ltd to its service Videoscape for adding live TV and mobile video capabilities. 
Apalya Technologies is a managed service provider of video streaming to telecom operators, handset manufacturers and content owners. 

Telcos to pay 8 percent AGR as licence fee

Under the unified licensing regime, telecom operators would have to pay eight per cent of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) as licence fee, according to the final recommendation of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) committee on unified licensing. The licence fee, however, would be at least 10 per cent of the entry fee of the authorised service area concerned. 
If a company acquires spectrum for any authorised service in a service area, the licence fee would be calculated on a "presumptive AGR" for that authorised service area, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the notice inviting applications of the auction of spectrum. For telecom operators who acquired spectrum in auctions conducted in November 2012 and March 2013, the presumptive AGR for access services would be five per cent of the bid amount of the company that won the spectrum for the service area concerned. 

IBF Petition To Against Extension Of DAS Deadline

The Supreme Court is expected to hear on 25 April a petition by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation seeking to ensure that digitisation is implemented as scheduled and without hindrance.
The case had been listed for 23 April, but could not be heard because of pending business. The Court is closed today because of Mahavir Jayanti.

MSM To Reconnect Signals Of Kanpur MSO - Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court directed on 23 April Multi Screen Media to reconnect the signals of a multi-system operator in Kanpur after it was argued that Broadcast Engineering Consultants (India) Ltd (Becil) was the only authority to certify the genuineness of a digitized set up for cable television. Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed that Becil should give its report by 17 May when the case will be heard.
Vishal Mishra of Vishal Cable Network of Kanpur had filed the case after MSM cut off the signals without any notice on the ground that the MSO had not digitized his operations.

Tamil Nadu Govt. Plans Cloud-Based Office Service

Initiating the discussions on grants for his department in the assembly, IT Minister Mukkur N. Subramanian said the government is committed to offering people the services of Arasu Cable TV Corporation and is taking necessary steps to increase the subscriber base to one crore. Currently, the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) has 61,54,531 subscribers, the Minister said.
Several members sought to know what the government was doing for the Chennai metropolitan area. Mr. Subramanian said the government had spent considerably on the purchase of set top boxes, the conditional access and subscriber management systems, as well as the upgrading of digital control room, .

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Smart Digivision rolls out AirTies STBS

AirTies, the wireless home networking vendor, has been chosen by Smart Digivision to provide its set-top boxes as part of its award winning IPTV service, MyWay, offering Indian households a high quality, interactive IPTV experience. 

Smart Digivision rolls out AirTies STBS

AirTies, the wireless home networking vendor, has been chosen by Smart Digivision to provide its set-top boxes as part of its award winning IPTV service, MyWay, offering Indian households a high quality, interactive IPTV experience. 

STM powers NTT Plala Smart IPTV STBs

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor specialist, has revealed that its Orly system-on-chip (SoC) is powering a new generation of advanced set-top boxes from NTT Plala – an Internet / IPTV service provider in Japan. This STB has been developed by Sumitomo Electric Networks, a Japanese equipment producer for home entertainment and broadband service providers. 
ST’s Orly was selected as the high-end SoC best fit for Sumitomo’s global set-top box middleware platform based on Linux, Android Ice Cream Sandwich and HTML5. In particular, the Orly’s dual-core ARM® Cortex-A9 MPCore processor allows the set-top boxes to run the Android operating system and so connect easily to new marketplaces including mobile ecosystems. Moreover, the integrated ARM Mali 3D graphics processor has allowed Sumitomo to create a rich user interface for Android-based services. 

News Corp in $139-mn shareholder lawsuit settlement

News Corp said on 22 April it reached a $139-million settlement with shareholders over the board of directors' actions related to the company's phone hacking scandal. The company said in a statement the money would come from insurance policies held by members of the board who were the defendants in the suits. 
News Corp also said it would adopt enhanced corporate governance procedures, which would stay in place after the company's pending split. 

China’s Multichoice rival?

ODM, the Johannesburg-based pay-TV broadcaster which trades as TopTV, is suffering financial problems. Luxembourg-based SES owns 20 per cent of the business. A rescue plan is being mounted by China’s StarTimes Group, itself backed by serious cash investments from China’s Africa Development Fund (ADF) and the China Development Bank. 
Up until late 2012 the Chinese had reportedly invested more than $100 million into various StarTimes ventures. Last September an executive at the ADF spoke about having earmarked a further $50 million for television-related investments in Africa, with – if needed – another $400 million available for suitable projects. 

Court adjourns additional 2G spectrum allocation case to April 29

A Delhi court fixed April 29 for hearing the matter in additional 2G spectrum allocation case in which Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and others have been summoned as accused. 
Mittal, Ruia and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh appeared before Special CBI Judge O P Saini and the court adjourned the matter in pursuance of the order passed by the Supreme Court on April 18. 

Vishal Gondal to move on from Indiagames and DisneyUTV

Vishal Gondal, Founder & CEO of Indiagames and Managing Director, Digital of Disney UTV, is moving on from the company. His last working day is June 30, 2013. Sameer Ganapathy, who was earlier handling distribution for the media business of Disney UTV, will now take on the business function for the digital arm of Disney UTV.
The digital team of Disney UTV combines all mobile, video, audio, broadband, ITV, games and virtual world’s initiatives and has a combined audience reach of over 300 million in India. All digital content across all brands, namely, Disney, Marvel, UTV, Indiagames, Bindassincluding original content for web and mobile and games will be developed and managed by this team. 

Venke Sharma joins Star TV Network as Head of Digital Marketing

Venke Sharma has joined Star TV Network as Vice-President and will head digital marketing for the network. He will be responsible for digital marketing initiatives of all the channels and digital properties of the Star TV Network in India. 
Sharma will be based in Mumbai. He replaces Lalit Bhagia who had quit Star TV last month as Vice President and Head, Digital. 

Eight channels face I&B ministry's ire for violation of programming codes

Action has been initiated ten times against eight foreign television channels in 2011 and 2012 for violation of the Programme and Advertising Codes under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the rules framed thereunder. 
Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari told Parliament however that the Act does not provide for pre-censorship of the programmes and advertisements. 

Broadcasters to commence net billing for ads to avoid TDS

Broadcaster will start sending net bill henceforth to media agencies for television commercials carried on channels. These will replace the gross bills which used to be the norm. 
This move comes following an Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) decision on the matter. A month or so back, certain broadcasters received notices from the income tax department on gross bills not having a deduction of TDS on agency commissions. The IBF then decided to move over to the net billing system from the first billing cycle of April, something which the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) opposed. The IBF then told its members to defer the dispatch for another week to allow the IBF, the AAAI and the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) to hammer out a solution. Somehow, the three could not meet last week. 

Govt eyeing Rs 1,531 cr revenue from FM channels auction

The government is eyeing revenue of over Rs 1,531 crore from the auction of new radio channels as a part of the FM Phase III expansion. 
"Government is likely to receive total revenue of about Rs 1531.92 crore from the auction of new channels based on the reserve price," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. 

Manish Tewari on 10+2 ad cap

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) notification on Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisement in Television Channels) has maintained consistent ad duration at 12 minutes per hour. However, it has been found that several broadcasters have been violating this rule since its inception. 
Taking cognizance of the seriousness of the 10+2 ad cap issue and broadcasters failing to adhere to this ad cap, TRAI has released a format for quarterly ad cap report to be submitted by the broadcasters. 

India wants more TV spectrum

India’s broadcasting ministry wants more transmission spectrum in the UHF Band V and is discussing the release of these frequencies with the telecoms sector. 

Tata Communications launches HD voice termination service

Tata Communications said on 22 April 2013 it has launched international HD (high definition) voice service that will allow mobile operators to route such calls via end-to-end IP (Internet Protocol) without transcoding. 
"The new service enables MNOs (mobile network operators) to route international HD calls via end-to-end IP, without transcoding, ensuring that HD customers calling HD-compatible destinations internationally will receive the full HD experience," Tata Communications said in a statement. 

Nick launches its first global mobile app

Kids broadcaster Nickelodeon has launched its first worldwide mobile app Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run in more than 150 countries and eight languages. 
Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, the app features 3D characters and environments based on the CG-animated series. 

Disney UTV launches four freemium apps

Disney UTV Digital, the digital media arm of Disney UTV, has launched four freemium apps UTV, Disney, Comedy and Devotional, for Indian mobile subscribers. Nokia Asha series has pre-embedded the UTV App on more than 2.5 million devices. 
Content in the UTV app includes movie trailers, full length movies (Bollywood and Regional), Bollywood gossip and more. The Disney App includes short form content featuring Mickey and Friends, other Disney classics such as Big Bad Wolf and Santa's Workshop and celebrated Pixar short form animation such as Reds Dream and Adventures of Andre and Wally B. 

Former chief justice of India J.S. Verma passes away

Former chief justice of India Jagdish Sharan Verma, who headed the government-appointed committee to frame a tough law to tackle crime against women in the wake of the December Delhi gang-rape incident, died on 22 April 2013. He was 80. 
Dr. Yatin Mehta, head of the Institute of Critical Care and Anesthesiology, at Medanta Medicity Hospital in Gurgaon where Verma was admitted and former CJI breathed his last at 9:30pm on 22 April. 

Former chief justice of India J.S. Verma passes away

Former chief justice of India Jagdish Sharan Verma, who headed the government-appointed committee to frame a tough law to tackle crime against women in the wake of the December Delhi gang-rape incident, died on 22 April 2013. He was 80. 
Dr. Yatin Mehta, head of the Institute of Critical Care and Anesthesiology, at Medanta Medicity Hospital in Gurgaon where Verma was admitted and former CJI breathed his last at 9:30pm on 22 April. 

Centre need not refund the entry fee to telcos: Attorney General

The highest law official in the country has reiterated that Centre need not refund the entry fee paid by mobile phone companies whose permits were quashed by the apex court last year, if these firms had failed to secure new licenses by participating in the recent airwaves sales. 
Last year, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, had said that foreign investors in mobile phone companies whose licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court in its February 2012 orders cannot sue the Indian government or claim damages under bilateral investment protection pacts. But subsequently, the panel of ministers on spectrum, headed by finance minister P Chidambaram, decided that mobile operators whose permits were quashed, but had taken part in spectrum auctions to secure new licenses could avail the provision to set-off the entry fee they had paid in 2008. This had resulted in the Norway's Telenor, Videocon, Idea Cellular 3.62 % and Sistema, all adjusting the fee they paid in 2008, against charges for airwaves they had won in the recent auctions. Companies such as Etisalat, S Tel, Tata Tele (in three circles) and Loop which lost their permits exited the sector, and did not take part in the subsequent auctions. 

Trai's 'customer-unfriendly' directive hits small VAS players

Small enterprises that provide value-added services (commonly known as VAS) to mobile telecom service providers are facing hard times. VAS like ring tones, caller tunes, games, entertainment and sports updates are offered to mobile telecom subscribers by their service providers, but are actually created by small VAS providers. 
Over the past few months, revenues of these companies have declined drastically. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had issued a directive in July last year, making it mandatory for mobile telecom service providers to seek explicit permission from subscribers through SMS, email, fax or in writing, within 24 hours of the activation of any VAS, and charge consumers a price only if they confirmed that they wanted such services. 

DoT asks local units to check compliance of roaming order

The Department of Telecom has asked its local units across the country to ensure that mobile companies are not selling 3G connections in areas where they do not have spectrum. 
The Supreme Court had earlier told Bharti Airtel not to add any new 3G subscribers in areas where it did not have spectrum. The apex court had also told the Government not to take any coercive steps against the company till the matter is heard. 

TV Screens To Go Blank In 2.5L Homes In Surat

Television sets in more than 2.5 lakh homes will go blank on 23 April as mandatory implementation regarding use of digital signals comes in force across four cities of Gujarat including Surat.
It was imminent that the households not installing set top boxes would be unable to watch television programmes after high court last week declined to extend the deadline for installation.

TN Govt To Move SC For DAS Licence To Arasu Cable TV

The Tamil Nadu government said on 22 April it will move the Supreme Court for obtaining Digital Addressable System (DAS) licence to the state-run Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV), revived after AIADMK came to power in 2011.
Information Technology Minister Mukkur N Subramanian told the state Assembly that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had taken up the matter twice with Centre, including writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in December but to of no avail.

CASBAA urges Indian govt to allow DTH & satellite ops to cement long term deals

At present, contracts for satellite capacity for DTH broadcasters are limited to a 3-year term by Indian government regulation. Speaking at...