Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati on Friday night announced that the e-auction for vacant MPEG-2 slots on its DTH platform DD Free Dish which was earlier kept in abeyance is now open to fill up vacant MPEG-2 slots of DD Free Dish DTH platform on pro-rata basis.
According to a notice by Prasar Bharati, the e-auction would be for a period from 10th June to 31st March 2021. The e-auction if needed would be held on 2nd June. The categorization of TV channels in different buckets in accordance with genres/languages of channel and their starting reserve price would remain same as provided in the notification in March.
The successful bidders will have to make the required payments in 7 monthly installments as per payment schedule prescribed under clause (5) of the policy guidelines for allotment of DD Free Dish slots. Interested broadcasters can apply online and upload the requisite documents with a processing fee of Rs 25,000 and participation fee of Rs 1.5 crore to be paid only through Demand Draft.
The last date for submission of applications for participation is June 01. Given the impact of the pandemic, it remains to be seen as to whether any channel will show interest in the e-auction at a time when FTA channels are looking to withdraw out of DD Free Dish. The number of vacant slots will also be interesting to see with Prasar Bharati likely to cutoff signals of broadcasters who are unable to pay their dues.
To recall, Prasar Bharati had in March notified the e-auction to fill up the vacant slots on DD Free Dish. However, the same was a week later kept in abeyance after the coronavirus pandemic led to restrictions around the country.