The News Broadcasters Association has written to Shri Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting requesting to defer the payment that is due to Prasar Bharati for Free Dish carriage on 31st March. The NBA has requested to defer the payment until July 2020 and a concession of 90 days.
The detailed letter written by Rajat Sharma, President – NBA as is
Dear Prakash Ji,
You would kindly recall in our representation dated 27.3.2020, we had drawn your attention that in this pandemic and lockdown, the expenses of news gathering operations has shot up significantly. The main source of revenue for the news broadcasters is advertising which is coming under severe pressure. There is huge pressure from advertising agencies to defer the payments to broadcasters and to allow more time over and above the 60 days credit period; the recovery of bills is going to be hugely challenging, while facing an even bigger task of almost zero or negligible income in the next 30-90 days. While we are coping with the financial problems of recovery of dues, we are also faced with serious problems of advertising release orders being cancelled and advertising inventory bookings being lower than 50 percent for even the top-rated news channels. Poor recovery and lack of future income would mean that the news broadcasters would have to weather the storm for two /three quarters and hope for a partial recovery towards the end of the financial year.
To overcome the unprecedented crisis, we had sought the support of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoI&B) and Government of India (Gol) that the payment due to Prasar Bharati for Free Dish carriage on 31st March be deferred until July 2020 and a concession of 90 days be given on the carriage amount of Free Dish.
We are now given to understand that the successful bidders of 44% e-auction for carrying ‘IV channels on DD Free Dish have been given an alternate payment plan whereby the payments due are now to be made by 27.6.2020. The same covers the first three installments and is subject to furnishing a bank guarantee of an equivalent amount (valid upto 31.7.2020) and upon payment of interest amount @ 5.70 %o per annum and GST on interest amount.
Since the alternate plan suggested by Prasar Bharti in the present circumstances is not financially feasible, we request that for the quarter April, May and June 2020 DD Free Dish be given free to all auction winners ie. no payment and for the quarter July, August and September 2020 – only 50% of payment and balance 50% to be waived off. In the event normalization is not reached by end of June 2020, NBA will approach the Mol&B for further concession.
It may also be borne in mind that the news genre has been recognized as an“essential service” in various government circulars and advisories and also by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in his speech to the nation. We seek your urgent intervention in this matter.