Eight TV channels win Freedish slots, bid price goes above Rs 5 cr

NEW DELHI: Setting a new record of getting for Rs 5.3 crore against the reserve price of Rs 4.3 crore, Doordarshan's DTH platform Freedish bagged as many as eight new channels in the e-auction held last week.

The channels that successfully bid for slots are Zee Anmol, Rishtey, Star Utsav, Fight Soirts, B4U Music, APN, Vision TV (Housefull Movies), and India 24x7.

The reserve price which had been Rs 3.7 crore was raised to its present level for the 25th e-auction in January. indiantelevision.com had learnt that the bid amount went up to Rs 4.7 crore in earlier e-auctions. The reserve price in the 15th e-auction was Rs 3 crore and was raised to Rs 3.7 crore in the 16th auction.

A senior Doordarshan official told indiantelevision.com that the next auction would be held in September, though the exact date had not yet been finalized.

The official refused to give the figure at which individual channels won the auction, as the exact amount after various adjustments was not yet clear.

Freedish – which currently carries eighty TV channels and 23 radio channels –also carries two channels as FTA which are otherwise pay channels - Aajtak and Big TV.

The official clarified that Freedish will be able to carry more channels as it is shortly going on to MPEG4. While it could carry about sixteen channels per transponder but MPEG 4 allows up to 24 TV channels per transponder, apart from radio channels.

The official said the Indian conditional access system (iCAS) is being used to keep a tab on the number of subscribers, but it would remain free-to-air.

The platform at present has space for eighty channels including its own channels and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV and also carrues 24 All India Radio channels.

The e-Auction was conducted by M/s. C1 India Pvt. Ltd., Noida which also conducted the first stage of the FM Radio Phase III auctions on behalf of Prasar Bharati.

The participation amount (EMD) in the e-Auction was Rs.1.5 crore which was deposited in advance. Incremental amount for the auction was Rs 10 lakh.

Of the bid price, Rs 1.1 crore will be deposited within one month of placement and another Rs 1.1 crore within two months along with service tax of 14.5 per cent on the bid amount.

The balance bid amount will be deposited within six months, failing which the deposited amount will be forfeited and the channel discontinued after a 21-day discontinuation notice.

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