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Centre warns channels on ads with false claims about drugs

NEW DELHI: The Centre has warned TV channels against carrying advertisements with exaggerated or improper claims of ayurvedic, siddha, unani and homeopathic products and drugs.

An advisory, issued by Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry Director (Broadcasting) Amit Katoch said the channels should advertise only those products and drugs that have valid licences, failure of which will attract action.

The move comes after the AYUSH Ministry approached the I&B Ministry, saying some channels were carrying advertisements with “exaggerated or improper claims” of such drugs.

Such advertisements were misleading the consumers and pose potential health risk with self-medication, it noted, adding that miraculous solution of all health problems are offered by the “self-proclaimed doctors, gurus and vaidhs” in these advertisements or programmes.

The advisory said the misleading advertisements of these products and drugs are in violation of the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954, and Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940.

“… In order to protect the citizens from misleading advertisement and health risk, all TV channels are hereby advised to ensure strict compliance of provisions of the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 and Drug and Cosmetic Act 1940 as amended from time to time,” the advisory read.

It said these rules should be adhered to “in letter and spirit” while telecasting advertisements on TV channels.

“TV channels are advised to advertise only products that have valid licence issued by Ministry of AYUSH or state drug licensing authorities. Any failure will attract action…,” the advisory said.

Amagi, BARC India join hands to monitor geo- targeted TV ad-campaigns

MUMBAI: Amagi Media Labs, the Indian targeted-TV advertisement solutions firm, has entered into a partnership agreement with television viewership monitoring agency, BARC India, to monitor geo –targeted ad-campaigns of brands across TV channels.

With the deal in place, TV networks offering geo-targeted split of its national channels, including their national and regional feeds, will be monitored on a separate basis and will be listed across BARC India’s interfaces. This will help advertisers evaluate their national geo-targeted ad-campaigns on BARC India’s software. Amagi said it will increase the credibility of the concept of geo-targeting advertising.

“Our partnership with the BARC India is a proof of the increasing ad spends of brands geo-targeting on TV. As competition becomes local, be it large brands or small regional brands all of them need to target specific region as their product has specific regional promotional needs. This will help marketers measure the ROI of their targeted TV campaigns and fine tune their media strategies,” said Baskar Subramanian, Co-founder, Amagi Media Labs.

He added that this will be a great tool for Amagi’s future customers to understand the large and varied audiences they can cater to using its patented geo-targeting technology.

BARC India’s association with Amagi will also provide transparency on geo-targeted advertising data.

“As more and more companies opt for geo –targeted advertising, the importance of this data is only growing. This partnership is an essential tool in providing the industry with data that will help them plan their campaigns with deeper insights,” said Partho Dasgupta, Chief Executive Officer, BARC India.

Will there be a blackout of all TV channels? Trai tariff order explained

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) new tariff order and regulatory framework for the broadcast sector is kicking in from December 29, 2018. But what does it mean for the consumer? Will your cable bill cost more? Will there be a blackout of TV channels? What will be the impact on TV broadcasters and cable and DTH operators? ET in the Classroom tries to answer all these questions and clears the air on the new order.

Trai believes that even after the mandatory switchover from analog to digital addressable systems of cable TV networks in March 2017, the objectives — transparency and real choice to the consumers — weren’t met. Hence, it initiated a comprehensive review of the entire framework. While Trai said its motive was to create a conducive environment for growth, various stakeholders did not see it that way. Star India’s Vijay TV even challenged the regulator’s jurisdiction in framing such tariff order in the Madras High Court. After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court on October 30, 2018, upheld the HC order in favour of Trai, paving the way for the implementation of the tariff order.


Trai’s new tariff order allows consumers to decide what channels she wants to watch and pay only for those. So far, broadcasters and distribution platform operators (DPOs) such as cable and DTH players used to offer a lumpsum number of channels for a fee. All this will change with the new order as the broadcasters will have to offer all the channels on a-la-carte basis at their maximum-retail-price (MRP). While broadcasters worry that it will result in a drop of long-tail, or unpopular channels’ subscription, the DPOs are worried that their share of revenue will come down.

Trai chairman has said that the authority is working along with the broadcasters and DPOs on a transition plan and there won’t be any blackout during that time.

With the new tariff order, a consumer will have complete control on which TV channels she wants to watch. The new framework mandates that every channel will have to be offered on a-la-carte basis and the MRP has to be displayed on TV screen through the electronic program guide. The broadcasters and distributors (cable & DTH players) can offer bouquets of channels, but price of bouquets are also required to be published transparently.

While many multi-systemoperators (MSOs) and a few DTH operators have informed Trai of their readiness onground, some players have been seeking an extension. While Trai chairman has refused to push the deadline, the transition plan will allow broadcasters and DPOs to gradually shift to a new framework without worrying about any coercive action from the regulator.

Under the new regime, distribution platforms can charge a maximum of ?130 from subscribers as the network capacity fee for 100 channels. These 100 channels will include 24 mandatory channels from Prasar Bharati. A customer can select free-to-air or pay channels after that. In case of FTA channels, she will not have to pay anything extra; in case of pay channels, only the price of the channels/ bouquets will have to be paid separately. If a subscriber opts for more than 100 channels, she will have to pay additional capacity fee of ?20 per 25 channels.

At present, viewers are being provided a large number of TV channels, many of which are not used by them at all. With the new framework, subscribers will not be pushed. Trai reckons that if a consumer chooses channels of her choice, the amount payable by her may be even less than the present payments being made per month.

Trai has removed the price caps from channels and allowed broadcasters to fix the MRP of their channels under complete forbearance. One of the channels has been priced at ?1,800 per month. Flexibility has also been provided to broadcasters to offer a bouquet of channels for consumers and prescribe MRP of the same. However, a broadcaster cannot club pay-and-free channels together, or offer premium channels (priced over 19 per month) in the bouquet.