What’s new in Print Media Advertisement Policy 2020?

By 28 Jul 2020

As the government introduces the ‘Print Media Advertisement Policy 2020’, which will be effective from 1 August 2020, here’s what it means for newspapers.

What’s new?

Now, the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) is the nodal agency of government of India for advertisement on behalf of various ministries, departments, PSUs and autonomous organisations funded by the government of India. The BOC was set up on 8 December 2017 by integration of erstwhile Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP) and Song & Drama Division (S&DD).

In terms of distribution of advertisement, earlier it was done in terms of cost. Now it will be done in terms of space (in sq cm).

In the new policy, Hindi and other regional languages are clubbed together, with ceiling reduced in English language from 30 to 20%.

The policy

The objective of the policy guidelines is to maintain a list of approved publications for release of advertisements by empanelling acceptable publications. The bureau of communication and outreach (BOC) will empanel publications which are found suitable for the issue of advertisements of the government of India.

In the policy, publications have been divided into three categories: small (circulation up to 25,000 copies per publishing day), medium publications (circulation between 25,001 and 75,000 copies per publishing day) and big publications (circulation of above 75,000 copies per publishing day).

The policy states that there will be a panel advisory committee (PAC) for considering applications of publications.

In the rate contract section, the draft reads that all empanelled publications will enter into rate contract with BOC on the basis of rate offered and other terms and conditions, as laid down from time to time, to ensure proper and timely publication of BOC advertisements. The rate contract will be valid for a period of two years.

80% newspaper ad for Indian language dailies

The policy articulated that 15% of government newspaper advertising space can be given to smaller newspapers, 35% to medium dailies and the rest 50 percent to bigger newspapers.

The ministry of information and broadcasting said, “The above norms are indicative and should be adhered to in the overall media strategy of the ministries/departments to ensure maximum coverage at optimum cost.”

However, a window of “deviation” is kept open for government ministries, but they have to give a “detailed justification” for the same.

The policy also took consideration to give reprieve and level-playing field to the under-represented languages like Bodo, Dogri and Garhwali, among others. While a publication “must be uninterruptedly and regularly under publication for a period of not less than 36 months” for it to be eligible to be considered for empanelment, it may be relaxed to six months for under-represented languages like Bodo, Dogri, Garhwali, Kashmiri, Khasi, Konkani and Maithili, among others.

Newspapers and periodicals published from the border areas like Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, among others, will also enjoy this benefit, the policy said.

In another significant move, the policy makes the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC), which was set up on 8 December 2017 by integrating different departments, very powerful.

“The BOC would maintain a list of approved publications for release of advertisements by empanelling acceptable publications. The BOC would empanel only such publications which are found suitable for issuing advertisements of the Government of India," the ministry said.

The BOC is the nodal organisation for paid outreach campaigns through print media, electronic media, outdoor media, social media, websites, etc, on behalf of client ministries or departments and organisations of the Government of India.

Change in direction for client ministries, departments

In the old policy, all clients of DAVP will have to issue Letter of Authority (LOA)/ cheque/ DD/ NEFT/ RTGS up to 80% of the actual expenditure in the previous year within the first month of the new financial year and clear all the remaining payments before 28 February of the financial year. Alternatively, DAVP should be provided 85% advance payments of the estimated expenditure of the advertisements by client ministries, departments.

In the new policy, all clients (except PSUs and autonomous bodies, central universities and educational institutions controlled by the Central government) of BOC will have to place the funds to the tune of 80% of their annual Information, Education and Communication (IEC) budget in advance to BOC within the first quarter of financial year budget through Letter of Authorisation (LOA).

PSUs and autonomous bodies, central universities and educational institutions under Central government will place the funds through cheque/ DD/ NEFT/ RTGS up to 80% of their annual IEC budget, within the first quarter of the financial year and clear all the remaining payments before 28 February of the financial year.

Alternatively, BOC should be provided with 100% of the estimated expenditure of the advertisements in advance by client ministries/ departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies, etc before release of the advertisement by BOC.

Highlight of changes

Earlier, there was no timeline for subsequent edition rate slab which was kept at lowest rate slab. In the new policy, subsequent edition rates will be kept at lowest slab till completion of 12 months.

The circulation criterion for authentication from ABC/RNI/PIB has been reduced to 25,000 copies from 45,000 copies.

The rate contract validity has been reduced from three years to two years.

The premium rate clause policy has been removed in the new policy.

The policy to incentivising with 50% additional volume by DAVP in case a big newspaper published educational institute ad at DAVP rate is now removed.

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