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DD’s DTH arm slot auction set to fetch R400 cr

Bapun Raz

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New Delhi: In what would be a global first, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is gearing up to auction
slots on its free-to-air DTH arm, DD Direct Plus, to
private broadcasters. At a base price of R1-1.5
crore per channel and with over 250 channels in
queue to join DD Direct Plus, experts reckon that
Prasar Bharati could generate R360-400 crore in the first year itself. The move is in line with the government’s vision of allocating scarce natural resources via a
transparent auctioning mechanism. DD Direct Plus has a subscriber base of around 8-9
million subscribers, including the remote hilly areas
and the north-eastern states. Auctions of TV
channel slots will replace the carriage fee regime. The six existing private DTH operators in the
country charge a carriage fee of R1.5-2.5 crore per
channel. Prasar Bharati charges a carriage fees or placement
fees of R80 lakh/channel) for DD Direct Plus.
However, after a legal battle with some private
broadcasters recently over allegations of non-
transparent mechanism adopted for the addition/
removal of private channels on its DTH platform, Prasar Bharati has zeroed in on auctioning of slots
as the best recourse, Prasar Bharati sources told FE. “Initially, a closed tendering process may be adopted and Prasar Bharati will gradually shift to e-
auctions. The private channels will come on board
for 12 months,” a DD official said. DD Direct Plus is important for private broadcasters
as it ensures a wide reach across the country,
which in turn helps them generate substantial
advertising revenue. Prasar Bharati has already initiated the process of
expanding the DTH arm’s capacity from 59 channels to 200 channels. While 20-25 slots will be
reserved for Doordarshan, the rest would be
auctioned to private broadcasters in a phased
manner, sources said. Not only will the auction make the broadcaster
financially independent, it will also bring in
transparency in spectrum allocation on DD Direct
Plus, Prasar Bharati sources said. Prasar Bharati has
initiated steps for better spectrum management on
the DTH platform by moving from Mpeg-2 compression technology to Mpeg-4, which
translates into more channels per satellite
transponder.


sorce- http://www.financialexpress.com/news/dds-dth-arm-slot-auction-set-to-fetch-r400-cr/796908/0
 
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