New Delhi, Dec 13: The number of TV channels in the country already exceeding 800, the battle for eyeballs can only get hotter as the broadcasting sector continues to see an expansion with 260 applications pending for the launch of new channels.
Even as the Information and Broadcasting ministry has given over 40 clearances this year, another noticeable trend that has emerged is that, in 2014 and 2015, the number of non-news and current affairs channels that are coming up is significantly more than that of news channels.
According to the ministry, the actual number of private satellite channels that have been granted permission over the years is 955, although 125 permits were cancelled for various reasons.
Sources said that most of the cancellations were due to reasons like non-operationalisation of the channel, non- submission of PBG (Performance Bank Guarantee) or surrender of permission, etc.
As a result, there are 830 private satellite TV channels with valid permission in the country of which 398 are news and current affairs channels while 432 are non-news and current affairs channels.
The number of channels that have been given permission has also seen an increase in recent years. In 2012, 37 channels were granted permission and, although that number slumped to a meagre seven in 2013, in 2014, the number of channels that were given permissions was 45.
Further, till November this year, the I&B ministry granted 42 permissions. An interesting development is that in 2014 and 2015, the number of non-news and current affairs channels that are being launched is significantly more than that of news channels.
The two categories have over the years been quite close in terms of numbers of channels being extended permission. In 2014, there were 14 news channels which got permission as opposed to 31 in the non-news category.
Till, November 2015, the I&B ministry has approved 39 channels in the non news category but only 3 news channels. In 2013, however, the number of news channels given permissions was more than that of non-news channels.
Of the seven channels that were granted permissions, four were in the news category while the rest were in the non-news category.