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MSM channels are following the 12-min ad cap: NP Singh

MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media (MSM) network channels, which include Sony Entertainment Television (SET), SAB, MAX, Pix, Six and Mix, have started following the 12-minute ad cap mandated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

With this, MSM joins the other three big networks – Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) and TV18 – in following the ad cap regulation.

Earlier, MSM had excluded from the other three networks and stated that it would follow the ad cap only when the rule should be same for all the broadcasters.

NP Singh“We have been following the ad cap as prescribed by TRAI on all our channels for some time now,” MSM chief executive officer NP Singh told TelevisionPost.

When asked further, NP Singh said that all the channels under the MSM umbrella have been following the TRAI guidelines for the past few weeks; however, they are yet to implement any price hike to compensate for the revenue loss. “We are now in talks with agencies and clients, and the rates will be increased over a period of time,” he said.

With flagship channel Sony Entertainment Television (SET) seeing a major drop in viewership in 2013, MSM’s task in increasing the rates at a network level would be difficult.

Singh, however, maintained that as the other channels have performed ‘extremely well’, they have made up for the dip in overall revenues. He had earlier stated that going forward, turning around SET would be his first priority.

Singh, who was elevated last week to the post of CEO, also added that the post of chief operating officer would not be filled now, with the respective business heads directly reporting to him. “We do not see the need for a COO as of now. There are business heads for all the channels and functions. We have a president for ad sales and another for the distribution business,” he added.

Singh said that gaining considerable viewership, SAB had been at the 4th or 5th place during the year. “Max has been the leader in the Hindi movie genre for most of the time, while Mix became leader in its genre. Pix has become a strong No. 2 and AXN has always been a No. 1 channel.”

The company will also focus on growing its sports channel Six. After acquiring rights to the Australian Open, the channel has now bagged the rights to the India-New Zealand cricket series.

With regard to support from the parent company, Singh said that Sony Pictures has always been very supportive of the India business. “India is a major market for Sony Pictures and they will continue to support us for our expansion.”

Singh added that the company is open to regional expansion at a right price.

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