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NBA hails TRAI directive to MSOs on multiple LCN as its victory

MUMBAI: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has hailed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) directive to multi-system operators (MSOs) to abstain from putting TV channels on more than one logical channel number (LCN) as its victory against Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV.

TRAI had warned MSOs of action if they flouted the interconnection regulation. As per the regulation, an MSO would have to ensure that all the channels falling in a particular genre appear in its network’s EPG under that genre.

The NBA said that the TRAI directive had come following a complaint filed by the association against Republic TV’s alleged use of multiple LCNs to jack up its ratings. The association had also appealed to BARC India not to release data for the English general news category for Week 19 of 2017 as the rating was corrupted due to unfair distribution tactics.

Consequently, major English news channels, who are also members of the NBA, had opted out of the measuring system to protect themselves from being measured in an unfair field and clarified that they would return only after the unethical practices were stopped, the NBA said.

After a series of discussions and complaints to BARC and TRAI, the English news broadcasters resumed their watermark last Friday night, subjecting themselves to ongoing measurements as they were sufficiently satisfied that due to TRAI’s intervention the malpractices were discontinued, it further added.

This, the NBA said, was confirmed by most MSOs.

NBA president Ashish Bagga said, “The NBA’s stance today stands vindicated. Not only had TRAI released this important mandate, it had also aggressively followed up with MSOs about putting a stop to malpractices. The NBA is grateful to TRAI for taking swift measures to stop malpractices. TRAI in its recent mandate to the MSOs also emphasised ensuring that all channels falling in a particular genre appear in its (MSO’s) network’s electronic programming guide (EPG) under that genre, to make services more consumer-friendly.”

Bagga attributed the drop in Republic TV’s viewership to the discontinuation of multiple LCN usage following TRAI’s action. “This drop in rating brings Republic TV closer to realistic levels of weekly reach of general English news channels, which is an average of 0.6 to 0.8 million,” he stated.

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