Govt to cut DTH licence fee to 6%

Direct-to-home operators, who are saddled with losses as they ramp up subscribers, can now hope to get some cushioning from the government.

Information and broadcasting secretary Sushma Singh today said at Ficci-Frames 2009 that the government is considering a reduction in licence fee for DTH to six per cent of gross revenue from the prevailing rate of 10 per cent.

DTH operators including Dish TV, Tata Sky, Big TV, Sun TV and Airtel Digital TV have asked for a reduction in licence fee, a move which they feel would ease some of their pain.

Meanwhile, minister of state for I&B Anand Sharma said the government has increased the rate for DAVP to 10 per cent across the board. This in effect means a 25 per cent hike as earlier the government had done away with the mandatory discount of 15 per cent in DAVP ads.

The government is also looking at formulating a policy framework for Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) soon. This will give a big boost to digitalization of cable TV across the country.

Sharma also said that the government should work with industry stakeholders to create "film festivals which would bring the entire world to us." He also urged the industry to come out with film awards that would have the same status as the Oscar Awards in the US.

On the FM radio front, Singh urged radio station owners and music companies to sit together and sort out the issue over music royalties. To offer a boost to the burgeoning animation, gaming and visual effects industry the government is setting up a centre. This has been envisaged as being a public/private sector partnership.

The Film and Television Institute in Pune is being developed to become a global institution which can attract students from across the globe. The government has also taken steps to ensure that films are scientifically archived with a facility in Pune. Over 100,000 films can be archived there.

On the film front, India has co-production agreements with Germany, Italy, UK and Brazil. The Indian government is in talks to have similar co-production agreements with France and China, Singh said.