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Regional TV to receive government advertising windfall

India's regional cable and satellite TV channels are to benefit from an increase in government advertising after new guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 11 May.

Out of the total annual budget held by the state run Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) for television media, 40% is now to be spent on regional advertising on private TV networks.

"We're glad that regional channels have managed to secure the rightful share of ad spend and from the government's point of view, it's a good step to make regional channels viable in India. This will go a long way," Kartik Sharma, president, Association of Regional TV Broadcasters of India (ARTBI) and CEO, India News is quoted as saying in Exhange4Media.

The new policy for empanelment of private cable and satellite TV stations encourages a 'bottom up' approach, whereby regional channels should be given preference to other mainstream channels in terms of government advertising placement.

Previously, channels with an all-India viewer share of under 0.02% were not entitled to be on the DAVP panel, governing where government advertising was placed. This restricted the amount of advertising allocated to regional channels, the ARTBI had successfully argued.

Now, once a channel is selected for advertising, it is also to remain on the DAVP panel for three years.

The annual advertising budget allocation will be capped at 2% for media groups, which own between one to three TV channels, and at 5% for media groups that own four or more channels.

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