DD Direct e-auction gets strong response

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan has successfully e-auctioned and allotted 26 slots to private broadcasters on the country’s only free-to-air direct-to-home platform DD Direct Plus, bringing in Rs 630 million, thus proving to be a golden goose for the public broadcaster.

This is more than three times the amount generated before migrating to the e-auction mechanism two months ago (charging Rs 8 million per slot). The average revenue per slot has, thus, jumped to Rs 24.2 million.

This is the second time that e-auction has worked to the advantage of the national exchequer, the first being 3G and BWA auctions which brought in record revenue.

The public broadcaster is now expected to put on auction another 90 slots within the next few months as it increases its capacity from 59 to 150 channels. If the present revenue is any indication, then DD may make another Rs 2.17 billion, crossing the Rs 2.8 billion mark before 31 March 2012.

Prasar Bharati conducted two e-auctions between 28 July and 30 August which saw participation from over 45 private media companies.

In the first leg of auctions, the minimum reserve price per slot was Rs 15 million which was raised to Rs 21.7 million, the lowest successful bid in the first e-auction. Even after the substantial hike in the minimum reserve price in the second-leg of e-auctions, as many as eight broadcasters showed up, of which five became successful.

The highest slot price in the second set of auctions stood at Rs 35 million, 55 per cent higher than the previous highest of Rs 22.5 million that the first auction had fetched in July-end. In both the e-auctions, the lowest successful bids were 42-44 per cent more than the minimum reserve price while the highest bids on both occasions were 50-55 per cent above the minimum reserve price.

The e-auction was adopted after some private channels challenged the decision of Prasar Bharati last year to remove them without assigning valid and acceptable reasons. The Court then asked the public broadcaster to adopt a transparent system for allocation of slots.

The first-two e-auctions were conducted by NCDEX Spot, Mumbai, an online trading firm after giving due training and exposure to all participating bidders.

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