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Six FTA channels fatten up DD’s DTH purse by Rs 23 crore

MUMBAI: The e-auction for six slots on DD Free Dish, the free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home (DTH) service from public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, has fetched over Rs 22.8 crore (Rs 228 million).

As per industry sources, six channels— Star Utsav, Zee Anmol, Rishtey (Viacom18), B4U Music, News Nation and Big Magic—shelled out anywhere between Rs 3.8 crore (Rs 38 million) and Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) for a place on the FTA platform.

“In the current scenario, where it has only 60 frequencies, DD Free Dish presents a lucrative proposition, at this price. It has 12–14 million subscribers, and the quality FTA channels are very few. Thus, the chance of viewing contribution is very high,” explained a top executive of a FTA channel.

In the 14th e-auction, Free Dish had called for bidding for six slots, as its annual contracts with six channels—Star Utsav, Big Magic, P7 News, Cinema TV, News Nation and Zee Anmol—were expiring on 15 August.

Viacom18’s Rishtey, which was launched in December last year, was available on an empty frequency, thus it also went for auction.

The next round of auctions is expected in October.

Free Dish, primarily known as DD Direct+, was launched in December 2004 with 33 channels. At present, it carries 59 TV channels along with 22 radio channels.

Out of the total bouquet, 21 channels are owned by Doordarshan while 38 are private channels. Category wise, Free Dish offers 27 general entertainment channels (GECs), 14 news and current affairs channels, five religious channels, four movie channels, three music and three education channels, two Parliament channels and one sports channel.

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Prasar Bharati to auction six slots on DTH service Free Dish