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DD's DTH eyes Rs 460 mn from first phase of e-auction

Bapun Raz

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NEW DELHI: Doordarshan hopes to earn a sum of over Rs 460 million from the e-auction of 21 slots on its DTH platform, DD Direct Plus. The estimates are based on the bidding made by several private broadcasters to gain carriage on India's only free-to-air direct-to-home (DTH) service. The bidders include some channels of Zee, Sahara, B4U and Sadhana. Until now, DD was earning Rs 168 million at the rate of Rs.8 million per channel. Through the auction, 21 successful bids have been received ranging from Rs 21.7 million to Rs 22.5 million. All 21 vacant slots on DD's DTH platform have been auctioned through this e-auction process. The bidding details that have been received from different channels according to the price bands are as follows: Rs. 22.5 million - Sadhana News (Uttarakhand/ Himachal), Aastha Bhajan, B4U Movies, Sanskar. Rs. 22.2 million - RsK News (Sadhana), Sahara Samay. Rs. 22.1 million -Enter 10 music, TV 24, Day& Night News Rs.22 million - B4U Music, Time TV, Divya, Katiani. Rs. 21.9 million - Sahara Aalmi (Urdu), Sahara Firangi. Rs. 21.8 million - Zee Salaam, Zee Smile, Etc music, 9X, Zee Jagran. Rs. 21.7 million - Enter 10 Movies. Conducted through e-tender process, the entire mechanism was facilitated by NCDEX SPOT Mumbai, the agency selected for conducting the proceedings. The aim was to optimally utilise available slots on the DD Direct Plus platform and maximise its revenue, in a transparent and objective manner. Prior to conducting the e-auction mechanism, Doordarshan undertook a detailed exercise to fine tune the mechanism to suit the professional requirements. It issued letters to all the channels which had applied to be placed on DD Direct Plus DTH platform and all those existing channels on DD Direct Plus platform that were completing their annual agreements up to 30 June 2011, inviting them to participate in the auction process by submitting a bank guarantee of Rs.15 million within
15 days of the issuance of the letter. Open public notices were issued in leading national newspapers on an all India level. Thirty seven channels applied with a bank guarantee of Rs 15 million and necessary Downlinking/Uplinking permissions from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Of these, 32 participated in the final e-auction process. As part of the orientation, the channels were given thorough training and also participated in a series
of mock auctions to give them complete familiarity with the process. Each service provider was issued individual IDs and passwords to all the channels to enable them to log onto the defined website to participate in the closed e-auction process using their unique digital signatures. The free-to-air DD Direct Plus platform at present has a capacity of 59 channels including 18 Doordarshan and one Lok Sabha channel. The second round will be conducted when the capacity is increased to 200. DD Direct Plus has a viewership base of eight to nine million. Ministry sources said only Indian entities
would be allowed to bid in the first phase, as no final decision has been taken on the foreign broadcasters. DD Direct Plus expects to earn Rs 4 billion from the e-auction of its slots during this fiscal as it increases its capacity to 200 channels.


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