New Delhi: The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the representative body of television broadcasters, has urged the government to categorize television services as a mass consumption service with a goods and services tax (GST) rate of 5% .
In a statement, the foundation said that the sector is unprepared to take a tax hike under the new GST regime. “It is important that government recognizes TV services which have evolved over the years as a product/service of mass consumption to be classified and categorized under the item of mass consumption having a GST rate of 5% so that it becomes affordable to masses,” said Punit Goenka, president of IBF, in the statement.
This request comes as a part of IBF’s efforts to bring television and radio services at par with the print sector as it believes that television services have become an integral part of everyday life of the masses and “the general economic downturn globally has impacted the sector extensively”.
“We urge the government to free the media, print, television and radio from the obsolete taxation squeezes and attacks on revenue streams, as the vitality of this industry is essential to protect the fibre of the country, both socially and economically”, said A Mohan, president (legal & regulatory) at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
Further explaining the woes of broadcasters, Rohit Gupta, president, network sales and international business at Sony Pictures Networks, added that low rates of Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) advertisements are adding to the problems faced by broadcasters.
“All broadcasters have to mandatorily carry (DAVP ads) on their networks, the rates for which have not been revised since 2010 thereby consuming massive inventories,” he said.
In November, IBF had demanded infrastructure status for the broadcast and content distribution sector (which will aid the sector with better and affordable financing options) in a pre-budget consultation with finance minister Arun Jaitley.