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Ministry of Information and Broadcasting approves “Digital Advertisement Policy, 2023”

The policy enables the Central Bureau of Communication (CBC) to empanel agencies and organisations involved in various services like streaming, podcasts, social media services, etc.

Classified ads in a newspaper

What’s the news: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on November 10, 2023 approved a “Digital Advertisement Policy, 2023” that enables the Central Bureau of Communication (CBC) to empanel agencies and organisations involved in social media services, streaming services and other digital audio services for government advertisements.

“The Policy will enable CBC to empanel agencies and organisations in the OTT and Video on Demand Space… Apart from rationalising its process of empanelling Internet Websites, CBC now for the first time will be able to channelize its public service campaign messages through Mobile Applications too. With Social Media Platforms becoming one of the popular channels of public conversations, the policy further streamlines the process through which CBC can place advertisements for government clients on these platforms. The policy also empowers CBC to empanel Digital Media Agencies to enhance its outreach through the various platforms,” said the Ministry in a press release.

As per the policy, the CBC can also on-board new communication platforms with the approval of a duly constituted committee. The policy further introduces competitive bidding for rate discovery, ensuring transparency and efficiency.

“Rates discovered through this process will remain valid for three years and will be applicable to all eligible agencies,” said the Ministry.

Eligibility criteria for social media platforms: The policy document states that the entity “must be under continuous operation under the same domain name/access address for minimum of six months.” Further, it must have maintained a minimum of 25 million unique users (UU) within India per month.

“CBC will make use of data provided by comScore or Google Analytics or any other credible agency having industry-wide acceptance to verify the UU count. d. must possess an online panel with demonstrated credibility through which the space/inventory for advertisement is booked. The access of such online panel should be provided to CBC along with requisite training, if any. All other advertisers/advertising agencies must have access to the same panel as the one provided to CBC,” said the document.

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Eligibility criteria for audio-video platforms: There will be separate platforms for video on demand or streaming platforms and a separate panel for digital audio platforms. In both cases, the application must be at least one year old and operating under the same name during that time period.

“The period shall be calculated backwards from the date on which the OTT application applies for empanelment with CBC,” said the policy.

These platforms in each panel will then be segregated into two categories based on average unique users per month. There will be Category A with platforms having over 2.5 users and Category B with platforms having users between 0.5-2.5 million.

“Only the OTT platforms which are owned and operated by companies that are incorporated in India will be considered for empanelment. However, OTT platforms owned by foreign companies or of foreign origin may be eligible if such platform(s) have a wholly owned company registered and operating in India, which looks after their Indian advertisement business,” said the document.

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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