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Doordarshan gets a lift from Freedish, FY17 revenue up 9.5% to Rs 827.5 cr

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan has seen a 9.5% jump in revenue for the fiscal ended 31 March 2017 as the pubcaster’s direct-to-home (DTH) platform Freedish posted stupendous growth.

Doordarshan’s net revenue grew to Rs 827.51 crore in FY17, up from Rs 755.79 crore a year ago. Revenue from government advertisements accounted for Rs 318.06 crore while Rs 157.59 crore came from corporate ads.

In fact, Doordarshan has reversed the past few years’ trend of a fall in revenues. In FY16, DD’s revenue dipped 17% to Rs 755.79 crore (exclusive of service tax) compared to Rs 911.01 crore a year ago.

For netting more audiences and advertisers, DD National has auctioned prime-time slots to private producers. Balaji Telefilms and Saaibaba Telefilms have successfully bid for the slots and new programming is expected to air from mid-April.

Doordarshan expects to rake in Rs 100 crore from the slot auction strategy. The pubcaster is also planning to launch channels in kids, youth and music genres, spaces where it has no presence yet.

DD director general Supriya Sahu had earlier told TelevisionPost.com that the plan is to launch the DD kids channel in FY18. DD is looking to work with content producers on a revenue share basis and have 1000 hours of content.

Speaking about the kids channel, Sahu said: “We are looking at multiple models like commissioning a few programmes, airing programmes on time-sharing basis or on revenue-sharing basis. The content should be contemporary and very deeply rooted in our ethos.”

Growth in FY18 is also expected to come from Freedish. Already sitting on 22 million subscribers, this base is going to increase further. The new fiscal year could see further revenue growth as DD Freedish has fixed the reserve price for the upcoming auction of vacant slots at a record high of Rs 8 crore. It has also reserved the slots for non-news channels for the first time. The e-auction on 11 April will be the first in FY 2017–18.

In FY17, Doordarshan’s free DTH platform Freedish posted its highest revenue as it was aided by the growth of the free-to-air (FTA) market, the launch of new channels in the genre and a surge in subscribers. Freedish’s revenue crossed Rs 260 crore in FY17, up from Rs 180.34 crore a year ago.

For expanding its channel offerings, Freedish is going to install MPEG-4 set-top boxes. While more bandwidth will allow Freedish to source revenue from a wider pool of broadcasters, it has also taken the step of hiking rates for the slots on its platform.

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