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Expect dynamic shifts as DD’s Freedish reserves slots for regional channels for first time

MUMBAI: Like in the case of free-to-air (FTA) Hindi general entertainment channels, regional-language channels can gain in a major way with Doordarshan’s direct-to-home (DTH) platform opening up distribution space for them. Coupled with BARC India providing rural television viewership data, dynamic shifts could take place in certain regional markets.

Buoyed by the availability of additional capacity, Doordarshan’s FTA DTH service Freedish has for the first the time reserved slots for non-Hindi regional channels for the 26th e-auction, slated to be held on 15 February.

The DTH operator has set a reserve price of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) per reserved slot for regional-language channels to fill up vacant slots. It will also auction slots for general channels, the base price for which remains the same at Rs 4.3 crore (Rs 43 million)

CK Jain1Freedish clarified that Bhojpuri and Hindi regional channels will not be part of the reserved slots for regional-language channels.

“There is expansion due to which we have got additional capacity and we have some slots for regional channels to make the bouquet richer,” Prasar Bharati deputy director general CK Jain told TelevisionPost.com without revealing further details.

“Capacity has increased. However, I am not in a position to reveal the actual number of channels that we can accommodate due to new bandwidth,” he added.

Jain also stated that the pubcaster has barred all the channels that have mixed content from participating in the auction of regional channel slots. “We want to encourage channels that are 100 per cent regional,” he noted.

According to Jain, Freedish has a good enough footprint in South India even though a large chunk of its consumer base is in North India.

It is pertinent to note that Freedish had migrated to GSAT-15 from 1 February. GSAT-15 has replaced INSAT-3A and INSAT-4B from which the DTH service provider was earlier beaming.

DD free dishCurrently, Freedish provides 64 channels including the ‘must carry’ Doordarshan channels. The DTH platform is planning to expand its capacity to 112 channels by providing MPEG4 set-top boxes (STBs).

The participation amount (EMD) for a regional channel is Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million). The incremental amount will be Rs 5 lakh (Rs 0.5 million).

For the general slots, the participation amount is Rs 1.50 crore (Rs 15 million) while the incremental amount will be Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) for the 26th online e-auction.

Every e-auction in both the categories will be of 15 minute duration. Bidders will have to pay a non-refundable processing fee Rs 10,000 through demand draft in favour of PB (BCI) Doordarshan Commercial Service, New Delhi. The demand drafts will have to be issued by any scheduled bank.

The last date for submission of completed application for the e-auction is 15 February 2016, 12 pm. The application can be submitted in person or by registered post in Room No. 320, 3rd Floor, Tower-A, Directorate General, Doordarshan, Doordarshan Bhawan, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi – 110 001.

All the interested channels will have to submit uplinking and downlinking permission from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) with the application.

Gurgaon-based C1 India will conduct the e-auction on behalf of Prasar Bharati. The agency will provide online training to all the participants.

Additional five minutes will be added if the bid is received before the closing time of each e-auction. The next round of e-auction, if held, will be conducted 10 minutes after each round. Prasar Bharati/Doordarshan may extend the e-auction to the next day if required.

The successful channels will have to arrange their IRD box in advance to place their channel on the platform on time. The EMD drafts will be returned to the unsuccessful bidders within a week or immediately after the e-auction is over.

The successful regional-language channels will have to deposit Rs 50 lakh as first instalment of the reserve price within one month from the placement of TV channel on Freedish along with service tax @ 14.5 per cent on the total bid amount. The second instalment amounting to Rs 50 lakh will have to be deposited by the successful channel in the second month from the placement of the channel.

The balance bid amount should be deposited on or before six months from the placement of the channel, failing which the deposited amount will be forfeited and the channel will be discontinued from Freedish after a 21 days’ discontinuation notice.

In the case of general DTH slot, the first instalment for the successful general slot, i.e. Rs 1.10 crore (Rs 11 million), will have to be deposited within one month from the placement of the channel on Freedish along with service tax @ 14.5 per cent on the total bid amount. The second instalment amounting to Rs 1.10 crore (Rs 11 million) will have to be deposited by the successful channel in the second month from the placement of the channel.

The balance bid amount will have to be deposited on or before six months from the placement of the channel, failing which the deposited amount will be forfeited and channel will be discontinued from the platform after a 21 days’ discontinuation notice.

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