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June the slowest month for new TV channel licences

MUMBAI: After a high of 16 new satellite television channel licences in April, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) slowed down the process of issuing new licences in the last two months.

June saw the lowest number of TV channel licences this year, with just three getting the nod.

Two licences were issued to channels in the news and current affairs genre. Only one channel obtained licence in the non-news and current affairs category.

Total Telefilms, which already owns and operates a Hindi news channel called Total TV, was the only company to get licences in June for two news channels.

Total Telefilms got licences to launch news channels for Haryana and Rajasthan. The licences were obtained under the channel names Total Haryana and Total Rajasthan.

Chennai-based Gokann International Media was issued a licence to launch a channel in the non-news genre under the name MAAS TV.

The combined number of new channel licences in the months of May and June did not even enter double digit.

In May, the MIB had granted permission to five channels. While each of the other months of 2016 had a double-digit count, the total number of licences for new channels was eight for the months of May and June.

While February and March each saw the issue of 12 new channel licences, January had 10 licences being granted by the MIB.

A total of 58 broadcasting licences were issued in the first half of 2016.

Broadcasters expect the induction of a new I&B minister to speed up the clearance process of licences. Venkaiah Naidu has replaced Arun Jaitley as the new minister for I&B in the recent Cabinet reshuffle carried out by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

There are 892 TV channels having valid permission to broadcast in India. These include 489 channels in the non-news and current affairs category and 403 channels in the news and current affairs channels genre.

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