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Clean Feed from Kartik 8 : Indian news channel to be closed in Nepal

7 Ashwin, Kathmandu. According to the law, foreign television channels should be clean feed (ad-free) by October 25. According to the 'Act 2076 made to regulate advertisements', advertisements cannot be aired on foreign channels broadcasting in Nepal after Kartik 8. There is a legal provision to close such channels in case of disobedience.

But Indian television service providers have recently started bringing equipment to clean feed in the content broadcast in Nepal. Some channels and package providers are not even interested in it.

Until recently, there was confusion as to which technology should be used to clean the channel. Lately, Indian television broadcasters have been preparing to come to Nepal and provide clean feed before distributing downlinked channels in Nepal. According to a television service provider, Sony is bringing equipment to clean up its channels, but some have not yet shown interest.

Sudhir Parajuli, president of the Nepal Cable Television Service Providers Association, says that some companies have started the connection by bringing equipment to clean feed and some are not interested.

The India Broadcasters Forum (IBF) has written to the Government of Nepal urging it to extend the deadline for the implementation of Clean Feed. The IBF has also sent such letters to television service providers broadcasting Indian channels in Nepal.

The government says it applies

The Ministry of Information Technology and Communication has said that clean feed will be implemented within the stipulated period. Joint Secretary and Spokesperson of the Ministry Gokarnamani Duwadi says that a technical mechanism has been developed in the Department of Information and Broadcasting to monitor the clean feed in foreign channels.

The Act, published in the Gazette on 8 Kartik 2075, had given one year time to the service providers to go for clean feed. The Act states that the organizations which have already entered into an agreement with a foreign channel for broadcasting at the time of commencement of the Act shall be required to broadcast without advertisement within one year of the commencement of this Act.

According to spokesperson Duwadi, as there is a provision in the act, it is not possible to postpone the implementation of the clean feed as per the demand. "While renewing the downlink permission in June, all the channels have accepted the condition of going to Clean Feed within the stipulated time," he said.

The Government of Nepal has long wanted to implement Clean Feed. The television operators who are providing television services through cable, IPP, DTT, DTH and other technologies in Nepal are demanding from Indian channels and operators to provide clean feed to the foreign channels broadcasting in Nepal.

Indian news channel to be closed

Parajuli, president of the Cable Television Service Providers Association, says it will be difficult to stop advertising on news channels. He said that it would not be possible to have a clean feed on the news channel as the advertisements would be placed on different parts of the screen of the news channel and the timing of the advertisement would not be ascertained.

There is also a problem in live broadcasting of sports channels. But Indian broadcasters have promised to manage the sports channel.

After the Indian broadcaster feeds Clean in Nepal, the screen will now appear blank when the ad is played. At that time, Nepali television service providers have demanded to have Nepali advertisements. However, the Development and Technology Committee of the Parliament has said that Nepali television should be promoted and directed to make arrangements to ban Nepali advertisements on clean-fed foreign channels.

After the implementation of Clean Feed, the number of foreign channels broadcasting in Nepal will decrease. Broadcasting random channels with downlink permission will now automatically block channels that are not clean fed. Many Indian channels are not willing to spend on clean feed in Nepal.

Charges may increase

Chairman Parajuli claims that Nepali television service providers will have to pay a high price when buying a channel as Indian broadcasters will provide clean feed at their own expense.

He said that television service could become more expensive as the cost of Nepali service providers will also increase. "We have proposed to give the facility to the customers to add channels according to their clusters by keeping the foreign channel optional by fixing the basic fee to the Nepali channel," said Parajuli.

According to him, the government is preparing to submit a letter drawing attention to what new arrangements should be made for facilitation after the implementation of Clean Feed.

What will be the benefit to Nepal?

The government  had decided to implement 'Clean Feed' from 2074 Srawan 1 The government had postponed the decision on Asar 31 , 2074 for further preparations. The decision was postponed due to pressure from Indian television broadcasters and agitation announced by Nepali television distributors.

The new government that came after the election took the initiative to make this provision in the Act. Television service distributors protested again. In the parliament, Madhesh-centric party Rajpal and others tried to amend the bill. Eventually, the bill was passed in the parliament as per the government's proposal and was implemented as an act.

More than 200 foreign channels broadcast in Nepal without Clean Feed. It is also dominated by Hindi language Indian channels. Although television service providers are dissatisfied, Nepali advertisers are in favor of implementing Clean Feed. They argue that Nepal has not been able to benefit from the fact that multinational companies are spending money on Indian channels targeting the Nepali market.

If Clean Feed is implemented, foreign companies with a market for their products in Nepal are expected to spend money on advertising in Nepal. Also, Nepali television viewers do not have to watch unnecessary advertisements on foreign channels. The Nepal Advertising Association estimates that the current annual Nepali advertising market of Rs 6 billion will immediately exceed Rs 8 billion.

Nepal's advertising market is small. According to advertisers, foreign TV channels have narrowed it down. Advertisements of multinational companies are aired on foreign channels, which have many consumers in Nepal.

The manufacturing company does not have to spend extra money for market promotion in Nepal. This is the reason why multinational companies in Nepal are spending less on advertisements for Nepal. This is costing Nepal's advertising business tens of millions of rupees annually.

With the implementation of Clean Feed, Nepal's advertising market is expected to double at least. This will also increase the revenue of the government.

According to the Ministry of Communications, if Clean Feed is implemented, the means and resources of the country will be used to create advertisements and the income of the country will increase. It has been argued that the demand for local artists and celebrities is increasing, Nepali artists are getting money from foreign artists, media houses are automatically benefiting from advertisements and the media industry is also flourishing. At present, foreign channels can broadcast in Nepal with advertisements by paying Rs 700,000 annually to the government. Foreign channels are also showing advertisements worth billions in Nepal from this fee.

According to government officials, the Clean Feed system will be effective in preventing this and organizing and further expanding Nepal's advertising market.

The Nepal Advertising Association argues that if Clean Feed is implemented, Nepal will also benefit culturally. He also argues that Nepal's television will be stronger when the number of viewers of foreign channels decreases after the implementation of Clean Feed.

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