News Broadcaster Association (NBA) President Rajat Sharma on Tuesday wrote to the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman requesting for the removal of 18% GST on advertisements on broadcast media or reduce it to 5% to be in par with print media.
NBA in its letter stated that the news broadcasters had taken various steps to ensure social distancing within and outside the premises for news gathering which has resulted in the operating costs of news broadcasters during the current pandemic going up exponentially.
It further stated that advertisements were an integral and essential part of the business and the main source of revenue for news broadcasters which has come under severe pressure during the lockdown.
NBA said, “Advertising agencies are putting huge pressure 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 the news broadcasters are coping with the financial problems of recovery of dues, we are also faced with serious problems of advertising inventory/ release orders being canceled and inventory bookings being 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.”
Rajat Sharma requested the Finance Minister to remove the 18% GST on advertisements or reduce it and bring it in par with the print media industry rate of 5%. He further sought to draw the attention of the Minister to the current prevailing rates of GST.
He also noted that the Prime Minister had also recognised that the news genre was an essential service and said that we was sure that Economic Task Force would consider the request of NBA and give the much-needed relief for the survival of the industry.