Friday, 14 June, 2024

Two dozen foreign channels come under clean feed system


By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, Oct. 30: Advertisement-free programmes have started broadcasting to Nepali televisions with the implementation of clean feed policy on foreign television channels.
Foreign channels have started broadcasting as per the clean feed policy after the Advertising (Regulations) Act-2019 set a date of 23 October, 2020 for its compulsory implementation. In the initial one or two days, the channels went blank and even the customers and distributors were getting confused.
When the sports channels were turned off due to clean feed, Nepalis could not even watch the Indian Premier League (IPL) of the season 2020. So far, 22 channels have come to clean feed, said Sudhir Parajuli, president of Subisu Cable Net Pvt. Ltd.
“Right now, we’re running a channel on clean feed. The number is increasing day by day,” said Parajuli. “So far, 22 out of 92 channels have come to clean feed,” he said.
He informed that the broadcasting of 32 channels under Star India had been stopped.
Twelve Zee, one Star and three Colors channels have come to clean feed. Although clean feed channels are being added every day, it seems that it will take some time for all to come, he said.
Managing Director of Dish Home Sudip Acharya said that the major channels would come to clean feed but it might take some time.
The main problem now is COVID-19. According to Parajuli, the clean feed supportive boxes of nine channels of Colors and 32 channels of Star could not come from Singapore as there was no flight to Nepal from there.
Dhruba Sharma, President of the Federation of Nepal Cable Television Entrepreneurs, said the government was not to blame for stopping foreign television transmission as it had given one-year period to implement the clean feed policy.
“The government gave us plenty of time,” he said. “It’s not the government’s fault for not making preparations timely,” Sharma said.
Some channels in dilemma
With the implementation of clean feed policy in Nepal, some foreign channels have said that they would not be able to broadcast, while some channels are in dilemma, according to channel distributors.
So far, there are cartoons on CNN Network and the American news channel CNN and they are saying that they cannot come to clean feed immediately, Acharya said. Similarly, the British news channel BBC has not said anything clearly. “In our communication, they are saying ‘we are trying’,” said Acharya.
Similarly, most of the Indian news channels are unlikely to come. Other channels, including Aajtak, have said that they would not come under the policy. Also, channels like Astha and Sanskar are not coming.
These channels have said that there is no benefit in giving clean feed programme in Nepal. According to Acharya, they could not provide clean feed programme in the Nepali market.They have to produce separate content and programme only for Nepal, which they have not been doing in rest of the South Asian countries, Acharya said. According to Acharya, there is clean feed in Thailand and they are airing other advertisements except for Indian channels.
Zee has come up with the solution and begun broadcast from satellite. The cost of this channel is expected to increase significantly due to the high cost of the satellite.
Meanwhile, Dilli Raj Sharma, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and ad-hoc chairman of the newly formed Advertisement Board, said that regular monitoring was being carried out whether the foreign channels were playing advertisements or not after the implementation of the clean feed policy.
“We have set up a computer system for monitoring,” he said. “We are regularly monitoring foreign channels through the same system,” he said. Viewers also can complain if foreign channels play advertisements. Consumers can lodge a complaint with the service provider if any foreign channel went off and was not available in the respective cable service provider.