Cable operators in Nepal critical of government's clean feed policy

MUMBAI: Cable operators in Nepal are opposed to the government’s clean feed policy for foreign broadcasters as it will mean higher payouts for sourcing such content.

“Indian broadcasters, with whom Nepal purchases most of the foreign television signals, have clearly said the cost of supplying television programs without advertisements is equivalent to opening a new channel company. So, Nepal should be ready pay a huge sum to foreign channel operators if it intends to introduce clean feed policy,” TechLekh quoted Federation of Cable TV Associations of Nepal president Sudhir Parajuli as saying.

The government’s move is likely to be deferred due to logistic pressures like creating a master control room which would scan foreign programs embedded with foreign advertisements and convert them into advertisement-less programs.

“Creating a master control room in around 250 companies that are currently supplying cable signals is almost impossible. So, it’s better we wait until the process of replacing analogue television broadcasting with digital signal is complete. This will reduce the number of cable signal suppliers to around 14-15,” Parajuli said.

Earlier, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had requested the Nepal government to defer the implementation of clean feed policy for foreign broadcasters until the digitisation of cable TV network is completed.

Without complete digitisation, the clean feed policy may promote piracy. It may also prompt television viewers in Nepal to illegally purchase Indian set-top boxes and recharge cards to watch foreign channels, some cable operators told TechLekh.

Under the clean feed policy to be implemented from 16 July, the government of Nepal will permit downlinking licences of foreign broadcasters to only those channels that do not contain any advertisements. The blank slots for these commercials can then be sold to domestic advertisers.

“Nepal being an emerging market with very low average revenue per user (ARPU), such exorbitant costs to create clean feeds are not justifiable from a business viability point of view,” the IBF had said.

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