With clean-feed coming into force, foreign TV channels are ad-free; some 150 channels’ broadcast suspended

Published On: October 24, 2020 05:20 PM NPT By: Kamal Subedi  | @Inspiredkamal

KATHMANDU, Oct 24: The much-anticipated clean-feed policy in television broadcasting systems in Nepal has been implemented starting Friday midnight.

With this decision in effect, international advertisers are barred from publishing advertisements in foreign television channels.

Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Parbat Gurung, unveiling the decisions of a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, shared that the government had taken a ‘historic decision’ to implement the new policy effective from Friday midnight as per the Advertisement Regulations Act 2019. The act required the foreign channels to abide by the clean-feed rule within a year of its implementation on October 25, 2019.

Although various broadcasters including Federation of Nepal Cable Television Entrepreneurs (FNCTE), Indian Broadcasters Forum, Discovery Networks, and BBC News asked the government to extend the deadline, the ministry was firm on its decision to implement the policy effective from Oct 23, the deadline set by the act.

According to Dhruba Sharma, chairperson of FNCTE, almost 150 channels including those purchased in packages and free-to-air have been suspended owing to failure to broadcast clean-feed programs.

Talking to Republica over the phone on Saturday afternoon, he said that channels of Zee and Sony are being broadcast with clean-feed contents. Similarly, some channels of the Colours package have also started broadcasting clean-feed programs. Stars, BBC and the cartoon channels are yet to air clean-feed contents leading to broadcast suspension at present. Sports channels of Stars packages are also not aired impacting the cricket lovers as Indian Premier League is currently underway in the UAE.

Sharma also added that the foreign broadcasters are ready to cast the clean-feed contents, however, it may take time to bring the necessary equipment, install them and untimely broadcast the ad free content. Stars and Colours have been waiting for that equipment, he added.

Almost all Indian news channels have been barred from broadcasting their programs effective from Friday midnight except Zee News.

The clean-feed system allows television signal distributors to replace advertisements in foreign television channels with local advertisements as practiced in most of the developed countries. But in the absence of a clean-feed system, foreign television channels appear on Nepali television sets in real time with their original advertisements. Nepali advertisers had been lobbying to introduce a clean-feed policy for years stating that it would help promote Nepali products.

Implementation of the clean feed policy is expected to promote business of both Nepali cable channels and Nepali products.

Caption: Screenshot of a sports channel on Saturday morning following the implementation of the clean-feed policy.

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