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Star Utsav sets new record on DD Freedish with Rs 8.4 cr bid in 36th e-auction
MUMBAI: Star India’s free-to-air (FTA) Hindi GEC Star Utsav was the highest bidder for a non-news slot in the 36th e-auction of vacant slots on Doordarshan’s free direct-to-home (DTH) platform Freedish.
The channel had bid Rs 8.4 crore to renew its slot on the DTH platform. Star India had acquired two more slots in that same auction for Rs 8.3 crore and Rs 8.2 crore respectively.
Star Utsav’s bid is the highest amount paid by any channel for buying a slot on Freedish, which has become a distribution platform with an estimated 22 million customers. DD, which had hiked the reserve price of non-news slots to Rs 8 crore in March for the 33rd e-auction, has since sold three regular slots and two on pro-rata basis at Rs 8 crore each.
While the name of the channels has not been revealed by DD, Star will use one slot for its upcoming FTA sports channel Star Sports First, which will launch on 21 July. The other slot, according to a source, will be used for Channel V, a hybrid music channel.
ZEEL and Viacom18’s FTA Hindi GECs Zee Anmol and Rishtey renewed their respective slots for Rs 8.2 crore each. Hindi music channel B4U Music too renewed its slot by paying Rs 8.1 crore. Housefull Movies and Bhojpuri Cinema won the slots at the base price of Rs 8 crore.
In the news category, News18 India was the highest bidder at Rs 6.7 crore. Zee News and Zee Hindustan acquired the slots at the reserve price of Rs 6.5 crore.
The price paid by broadcasters who were already available on Freedish has seen a significant jump when compared with what they had paid a year ago. Housefull Movies, which was using Vision TV licence to broadcast, had bid Rs 5.1 crore.
Star Utsav had paid Rs 5.2 crore in the auction conducted in August 2016. The reserve price at that time was Rs 4.3 crore. Zee Anmol was the highest bidder in that e-auction with Rs 5.3 crore bid. Rishtey had got the slot for Rs 5 crore.
B4U Music and Bhojpuri Cinema had paid Rs 4.5 crore and Rs 4.3 crore respectively. Bhojpuri Cinema had won the slot in the September e-auction.
Similarly, Hindi news channel News18 India had paid Rs 5.2 crore for the slot in previous e-auction while Zee News and Zee Hindustan, which was then called India 24×7, had got the slots for the base price of Rs 4.3 crore.
As reported earlier, Freedish had sold 11 slots in the 36th e-auction, which included three news and eight non-news, for a record Rs 85.1 crore. The reserve price for non-news channels was Rs 8 crore while the same for news channels was Rs 6.5 crore.
According to a recent report by EY India, free TV viewership in India is set to reach 46 million households by 2020 due to the increase in number of FTA channels.
Alarmed by the growth of Freedish, the private DTH platforms are asking for a long window between the release of content on pay channels and FTA channels.