TV18 complains to TRAI about placement of Republic Bharat in non-Hindi news genre
MUMBAI: TV18 Broadcast, which operates 20 national and regional news channels, has approached Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) against Arnab Goswami’s ARG Outlier Media for placing its recently launched Hindi news channel Republic Bharat outside the Hindi news genre to drive up viewership.
TV Today Network has also filed a complaint with the TRAI against Republic Bharat. In one of the cases, the TRAI has sought a response from Haryana-based cable operator Jai Mata Di Cable by 22nd February.
TV18 has also provided the names of cable TV platforms that are carrying Republic Bharat on non-Hindi news genres. It has also provided sample photographs as proof. It has requested the TRAI to investigate the matter and take appropriate action against all those who are violating the regulations.
TV18 said that the Republic Bharat is being placed in other genres to allow it to “illegally garner higher BARC ratings and increase viewership”. It further stated that genres where Republic Bharat is being placed either have much better viewership and ratings when compared with Hindi news genre or ensure that the channel catches the viewer’s attention and gets sampled in non-Hindi news genre.
“As such, by placing Republic Bharat in non-Hindi News genres, an unfair and undue advantage is being given to ‘Republic Bharat’ when compared with its competing channels that continue to be listed in correct / Hindi news genre,” TV18 said in its complaint to the TRAI.
It also pointed out that the subsection 2, section 18 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 mandates that the distributor must place a channel in the same genre as declared by the broadcaster.
“In view of above, we humbly request Hon. Authority to kindly take cognizance of this complaint and investigate into the matter rather, in terms of applicable laws, take stem action against all those who may be/have been involved in listing of Republic Bharat outside its genre so as to deprecate such malpractices in future,” TV18 said in the letter to TRAI.
Republic Media Network Group CEO Vikas Khanchandani refused to comment on TV18’s complaint to the TRAI.
The TRAI regulations mandate every broadcaster to declare the genre of its channels and such genre shall be either ‘Devotional’ or ‘General Entertainment’ or ‘Infotainment’ or ‘Kids’ or ‘Movies’ or ‘Music’ or ‘News and Current Affairs’ or ‘Sports’ or ‘Miscellaneous’.
It is also mandatory for the distributor to place channels in the electronic programme guide, in such a way that the television channels of the same genre, as declared by the broadcasters, are placed together consecutively and one channel shall appear at one place only.
The regulation also stated that all television channels of the same language within the same genre shall appear together consecutively in the electronic programme guide. However, it is permissible for the distributor to place a channel under sub-genre within the genre declared for the channel by the broadcaster.
Furthermore, every distributor of television channels shall assign a unique channel number for each television channel available on the distribution network. The channel number once assigned to a particular television channel shall not be altered by the distributor for a period of at least one year from the date of such assignment.