B Mahtab of BJD sought regulation of landing channel for linear broadcast. He tells Indian Express about why he raised the issue in Lok Sabha.
What is the issue about?
The landing channel for linear broadcast is an in-house channel, a slot available within their platform to the multi-system operators (MSO), local cable operators (LCO) and direct to home (DTH). When a viewer switches on the set top box, it automatically opens this channel.
What is its purpose and what is the problem?
The purpose was to allow the MSO and LCO to use it for their own service promotion or promotion of a third party brand for a price. The landing channel is a new revenue source. But with only one landing channel slot per network, the broadcast industry is exposed to an unfair practice.
What is the impact?
Some broadcasters are using the landing channel slot for many operators to gain high viewership. This results in spike in viewership data for the channel. This defeats the purpose of digitisation. A lot of money is being siphoned off by a group of TV channels.
What needs to be done to correct the situation?
The practice is marginalising good content. The regulator should curb these practices and, thereby, false viewership data. The regulator and the I&B Ministry should fix the issue.
What is your demand from the government?
There should not be any BARC watermark during such promotions on landing channels. Allowing any other channel on a linear platform should be declared illegal.