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Clean Feed In Nepal: Economic Maker or Breaker??

Clean Feed In Nepal: Economic Maker or Breaker??
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In the most simple nature, Clean Feed means TV feeds without any extra on-screen digital graphics or text in their broadcasts. No TV commercials or cuts, or even underlying marquee texts are carried on the television by a TV station with a clean feed. The Open Air Policy varies from this.

What is a clean Feed?

In the most simple nature, Clean Feed means TV feeds without any extra on-screen digital graphics or text in their broadcasts. No TV commercials or cuts, or even underlying marquee texts are carried on the television by a TV station with a clean feed. The Open Air Policy varies from this. For the record, under this, no subscription fee is needed for international TV channels as they serve advertisements on their feeds.

On Nepali television sets, cable TV providers broadcast paid channels and free-to-air channels. Although free-to-air channels are shown without placing costs on audiences, even though they air commercials, international pay channels carry commercials from different foreign brands. 

However, after levying such charges on subscribers, the pay channels can also be aired without any advertisements. Such a clause is accepted as Clean Feed by the government.



Our TV channels have been heavily dominated by Indian channels and Indian advertisements since the introduction of foreign networks in Nepal. We, Nepalese people, have the habit of watching Indian Serials, Indian Advertisements, Indian marketing, and promo videos on our screens in our daily life. Well, those days are over now, since the Government has applied a Clean feed policy in our cable networks.

Starting at midnight on Friday 23 October 2020, the clean-feed regulation for television transmission networks in Nepal was introduced, barring multinational advertisers from publishing advertising on foreign television channels.

The Clean Feed Policy was announced the previous year by the Nepal government and had set the deadline to 23 October 2020. The Cable operators were directed to make arrangements to continue broadcast or to make the arrangements to block the channels who fail to keep a clean feed policy.

Now, as a result, many foreign networks, primarily Indian networks, were taken off the air with television screens blinking the note of the clause referred to in the newly introduced policy. Nepal’s Minister for Information and Communication Mr. Parbat Gurung has said in his press briefing that it's a historic decision on behalf of the Nepali people.

The new legislation encourages providers of broadcast signals to substitute commercials on international television networks with local advertising, as is the case with most developing countries.

Kaagmandu Magazine, One of the leading Social Media Magazine in Nepal has put its opinion in “Clean Feed Policy”

Why Did the Government Introduce a Clean Feed Policy In Nepal?

The Kathmandupost.com Writes in its article which was featured on June 26, 2019:

As per the policy, Nepali viewers pay Direct-to-Home satellite television service providers a monthly charge and are thus also exposed to foreign commercials. “Apart from a few exceptions, almost all of the foreign channels carry commercials made by multinationals and conglomerates for which Nepali viewers are paying monthly charges, while the domestic advertising industry is shrinking. Hence, the need for implementation of clean feed," states the policy. The government and domestic advertisers say that as the pay channels are loaded with international commercials, the multinational companies are not interested in broadcasting their commercials on domestic channels. Also, the domestic agencies have fewer slots to air Nepali commercials.

According to the government, with no multinational beaming commercials through Nepali channels, the television industry has faced slowed revenue growth, and thus not allowed it to produce quality content. This, in turn, leads to viewers opting to watch foreign channels which would draw the curtains on Nepali language, culture, and traditions.

Also, as cable and DTH operators scramble to gain a license to beam foreign channels in Nepali households, millions in Nepali currency is expensed by the operators annually to keep their broadcasting rights of foreign channels. The government also wants that money to stay in.

Advertising Regulations Act-2019 and Regulations 2020, in effect from the early hours of 24 October 2020-advertising-free-Clean Feed Policy comes into force and is notified to all. In this act, it is also demanded to all for their assistance.

Why Do Cable TV Service Providers Hate the “Clean Feed Policy”?

Cable TV operators have constantly worried about the launch of Clean Feed and blocked previous government efforts to claim that the cost of downlinking (broadcasting) ad-free international channels would be much higher than the current rate as the channels would have to streamline their programming to service Nepali audiences in particular.

According to Sudhir Parajuli, president of the Federation of Cable TV Association of Nepal, the introduction of the Clean Feed Policy will entail the establishment of separate facilities by international broadcasters aimed at trimming international advertisements and relaying the channels to Nepal.

"This suggests that we will face higher costs that we will have to pass on to customers," Parajuli said. "Even, if we quit broadcasting international channels because of higher prices, Indian operators' sales of set-top boxes will rise, apart from fostering pirated material that will put us out of business with Nepali channels."

The government is under pressure to illegally stop broadcasting programs via Nepalese websites and smartphone apps and all unauthorized broadcasts under various names on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. Otherwise, there will be no excuse, says Dhruv Sharma, managing director of Mega Max TV Network, for the introduction of Cleanfeed.

According to Shiva Niraula, Chief Executive Officer of Nepal's Digital System (DSN), if the government fails to fully ban foreign OTT mobile apps and illegally broadcast videos of content in Nepal to fully implement Cleanfeed, billions of Nepalese currency will flow out illegally. Which is still happening.

Nepal is illegally broadcasting video content such as Netflix, Amazon Private Videos, Alt Balaji, Spotify, Sony Live, Hotstar, Bhut, iFlix on TV, and mobile. The government will shut down Internet service providers through the Telecommunications Authority to prevent that.

Benefits of Clean Feed Policy: 

Opportunities for Nepali creators, products, and companies:

Nepali advertising will get a chance to thrive and hit a wide variety of markets with the dropping of international advertisements. Before, international corporations aired their commercials for free. In an adverse way, this affected Nepali advertising. So, now with Clean Feed, in local settings, Nepali developers can get to extend their work and create advertisements. They will get more to explore and develop. Similarly, the number of buyers would be fantastic for local brands and goods. Not only will Clean Feed support local ads, but it will also lead to the growth of Nepali trade.

No Foreign Ads:

Up to now, we were directly supplied with international outlets along with international commercials. Subsequently, meaningless commercials for international products and enterprises emerged that had little to do with Nepali audiences. But now we can receive only filtered channels free from international commercials after the introduction of the Clean Feed. Preferably the ones who are involved in broadcasting their Clean Feed channels in Nepal.

Economic Benefits for Local Advertisers:

The Clean Feed Strategy would help the domestic advertising market grow. In order to fill the slots in channels with clean feeds, it would need domestic marketers to invest in and create more commercials. 

The government says that by eliminating the cost of subscribing to several international outlets, the strategy would increase job opportunities, broaden the domestic advertising market and avoid the external flow of currency. The clean feed would also mean that Nepali channels would air their commercials on domestic as well as foreign brands.

The drawback of Clean Feed Policy in Nepal

Limited Foreign Channels

Similarly, there are several limitations to the supply of networks. Clean Feed broadcasts only those networks that have access to the help box. So far, Zee TV network's help box, Sony TV network, Discovery, and Animal Planet have arrived. There will be 12 channels available under the Zee network. Similarly, there will be 8 channels available under the Sony network. For the time being, only their content will be transmitted on 12 Zee channels, 8 Sony channels, and the previously listed channels. Conversely, in Clean Feed, famous networks such as CNN, BBC, cartoon networks, and more are yet to arrive.

The Price of Cable TV will go high:

In addition to the benefits described earlier, Clean Feed also has some pitfalls. It takes extra time and resources to screen the channels to make it open for international additions. TV providers would now have to pay more than ever for international networks. So, they argue that the total cost of cable TV is boosted by Clean Feed. Although the service will certainly be incredible. 

Additionally, because of OTT and IPTV, Cable TV is in an unprofitable role. OTT and IPTV have not been given any restrictions or regulatory rules. So, as before, they are free to act and work. Thus, IPTV and OTT over cable TV will undoubtedly be preferred by individuals. For cable TV operators in Nepal, this turned out to be more out of luck.

The program means placing extra costs on consumers who have to spend more than the current price to see the international networks they are likely to watch. In addition, foreign broadcasters that are unable or unable to produce clean feed content streamlined for Nepal would lose audiences because the broadcasting rights will not be granted by the government. 

And TV operators who directly downlink international pay channels would have to devote money, personnel, and infrastructure in order to trim and broadcast international commercials. 

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Aakash Karki

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Shiv Kandel 2 yrs

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