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DD Freedish sticks to Rs 8-cr reserve price despite no takers in last auction

MUMBAI: Despite finding no takers in the last auction, Freedish, the subscription-free direct-to-home (DTH) arm of pubcaster Doordarshan, has decided to stick to its record reserve price of Rs 8 crore for allocating new slots to private broadcasters.

Thus, the reserve price remains Rs 8 crore at DD Freedish’s 34th e-auction, which is scheduled to take place on 9 May. Only non-news channels are permitted to participate in the auction.

DD had called for an e-auction of slots for non-news channels on 11 April. However, no broadcaster participated in the e-auction since the reserve price was hiked to Rs 8 crore per slot for non-news channels from Rs 4.8 crore, which was applicable for news as well as non-news channels.

Undeterred by the result of the 33rd e-auction, DD decided not to change the Rs 8-crore reserve price since it feels that Freedish offers a bigger reach to broadcasters than any other TV distribution platform in the country.

According to the latest FICCI–KPMG report, Freedish has an estimated subscriber base of 22 million, which makes it the biggest TV distribution platform in India.

“The Prasar Bharati board has taken a conscious decision to keep the reserve price at Rs 8 crore. We think it’s a fair price. Freedish is a not-for-profit public service platform. Our aim is to plough back the money earned from the auction to make Freedish a better platform,” DD DG Supriya Sahu told TelevisionPost.com.

Sahu further stated that the previous e-auction had only one slot on offer. Since that slot went unsold, the pubcaster decided to utilise it for carrying DD India, which is a channel targeted at expats in other countries.

While Sahu did not comment on the number of slots on offer at the 34th e-auction, it is believed that 7–8 slots are on offer this time.

All interested channels should submit uplinking and downlinking permissions from the MIB along with the application.

The participation amount has been increased to Rs 2.80 crore from Rs 1.5 crore. The participants will have to give a demand draft in favour of PB (BCI) Doordarshan Commercial Service, New Delhi.

The successful channel is required to arrange their own IRD box in advance to place their channel on Freedish platform on time.

The participation fee drafts will be returned to the unsuccessful bidders within three weeks after the declaration of winning bids. The participation fee of the successful bidders will be adjusted in the third and final instalment of carriage fee.

If the successful bidder fails to place the channel on its allocated slot even after one month from the date of allotment, the allocation will be treated as cancelled and the participation fee will be forfeited.

Every successful bidder will have to sign an agreement and return it to Doordarshan in two copies within 15 days of issue of letter of allotment.

Successful bidders will have to pay 50% of the total bid in two instalments of 25% each plus service tax. The first instalment will have to be paid within one month from date of placement of channel and the second instalment will have to be paid within four months from date of placement of channel.

The remaining amount will have to paid within seven months from the date of placement of channel after adjusting the participation fee and previous instalments + applicable Service Tax.

If any of the above instalments is not paid within the scheduled dates, a penal interest @ 14.5% per annum will be charged from the due date of payment. The penal interest will be charged for the entire month for a default of 30 days or part thereof.

If the instalment, along with the penal interest is not paid within 30 days from its scheduled due date, 30 days’ notice will be issued to the defaulter for discontinuation of channel.

In the event of the channel not paying the instalment with the accrued penal interest for two months within the notice period, the participation fee, along with any instalment already deposited by the broadcaster to date, will be forfeited and the channel will be discontinued from Freedish after the expiry of the notice period.

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