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NewsX becomes first English channel to hop on to Freedish

MUMBAI: Doordarshan has sold two vacant slots on its free direct-to-home (DTH) platform Freedish to English news channel NewsX and Hindi movie channel RT Movies on pro rata basis for Rs 8 crore each.

NewsX is the first English news channel on the Freedish platform, which has mostly Hindi-language channel and a few Marathi channels.

English channels have given Freedish a miss since it mainly caters to the free-to-air (FTA) market. The majority of Freedish customers are based in rural hinterland of Hindi-speaking market (HSM). English channels are mainly focused on urban and semi-urban markets.

Incidentally, NewsX is a news channel while Rs 8 crore is the reserve price for non-news channels.The two vacant slots had gone unsold during the 35th e-auction on 25 May.

Slots acquired on pro rata basis are for a limited period until the next e-auction. DD gives preference to existing TV channels on pro rata basis.

“We have sold two vacant slots on Freedish to NewsX and RT Movies on pro rata basis. They will pay Rs 8 crore each. Moreover, NewsX is the first English channel on the platform which is good news for us,” DD DG Supriya Sahu told TelevisionPost.com.

Sahu said that there are currently no vacant slots on the platform.

Earlier, Sony Wah, Zee Anmol Cinema and 9X Jalwa had renewed their slots at the reserve price of Rs 8 crore.

Prior to that, the reserve price for each slot was Rs 4.8 crore. This was hiked to Rs 8 crore for non-news channels beginning with the 33rd e-auction.

DD didn’t find any takers for slots at that price in the 33rd e-auction. However, the pubcaster persisted with the rate and sold three of the five vacant slots in the next e-auction at the reserve price.

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