Popular Bollywood music channel, 9XM UK was suddenly removed from the Sky Digital EPG in September without any given reason – until now.
According to Ofcom, 9XM’s licence was revoked due to failure to pay the Broadcasting licensees�۪ Relevant Turnover returns. The returns are paid by licensees to meet the cost of Ofcom�۪s functions relating to the regulation of broadcasting. Chief among these principles is that for all television and for national and local analogue radio licensees, the fees they are required to pay are based on a percentage of their turnover from related activities.
Failure by a licensee to submit an annual Relevant Turnover return when required represents a serious and fundamental breach of a broadcast licence, as the absence of the information contained in the return means that Ofcom is unable properly to carry out its regulatory duties.
Ofcom recorded a breach against a number of licensees in the past month, who had failed to submit their Relevant Turnover returns, despite repeated requests. As a consequence of this serious and continuing licence breach, Ofcom put these licensees including INX Media (9XM UK) on notice that their present contravention of their licences was being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction, including licence revocation.
Ofcom said it wrote to these licensees, stating that it was minded to revoke the licence if the outstanding breach was not resolved. Further notice of revocation was issued, and the licence of 9XM UK was revoked with effect from Thursday 13th September as the Relevant Turnover information remained outstanding.
Bizarrely, this was the same period that 9XM UK was to start reporting to audience measuring body, BARB for official viewership data. When contacted by BizAsia, the channel said it vows to return but may take a few weeks to re-apply for an Ofcom licence. It will also need to negotiate with BSkyB about its EPG slot as that too Sky can take back if the channel does not return within a month of its revocation.