KATHMANDU, JUNE 21
Cable operators have demanded that clean feed (advertisement-free content) policy be implemented for over-the-top apps that rake in billions of rupees without paying any tax to the government.
Though discussion on implementing the clean feed policy in foreign television channels has been going on for a long time, it has not been implemented yet. The government is preparing to fully implement the clean feed policy after July 16. Accordingly, the government has written to cable operators to submit details of foreign channels they broadcast to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology within 15 days of the opening of the lockdown.
It is the first time cable operators have pointed out the need to implement clean feed policy even for OTT apps that deliver video content.
The OTT apps allow users to watch videos on mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs through the internet instead of the traditional means of distributing video content, such as satellite or cable.
Cable operators have complained that billions of rupees is leaving the country and the government is not collecting even a single rupee from that revenue.
Shiva Prasad Niraula, executive director of Digital System of Nepal, said half a dozen such apps that distribute video content are illegally taking billions of rupees abroad from Nepal. He claims that such apps have added more than 250,000 new users in Nepal during the lockdown period alone.
Nepali television channels have been enlisting the help of cable and satellite-based digital television broadcasting service providers to deliver such video content to customers.
Mobile applications of those channels have also been launched by some television channels. But apart from this, Nepali television operators have not been able to bring any separate OTT app so far.
On mobile apps of television channels subscribers can only watch content that is broadcast on the respective channels, while OTT apps allow users to watch online video content.
The government has been doing groundwork for a long time to implement clean feed policy targeting foreign channels.
However, while doing so, foreign channels may not provide downlinks in Nepal and cable operators will not be ab