MUMBAI: A month after the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) came out with its mandate that 24 Doordarshan channels have to be carried on all DTH platforms; the ministry has cracked the whip on three DTH players in the country for not obeying the notification. Showcause notices have reportedly been sent to Reliance Digital TV, Sun Direct and Tata Sky as to why action shouldn’t be taken against them for not complying with this requirement.
Now, one of the big players is all set to give a fitting reply to the ministry - Tata Sky, which has unsuccessfully been chasing the MIB for transponders on ISRO’s GSAT-10 satellite. “Our licence with Doordarshan was to carry eight channels but we were carrying 15 since our customers wanted them. We have been running pillar to post to get capacity but no one has been helping us,” says and agitated Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal.
The DTH operator has signed long term contracts with all its channels and has no more capacity left for any more channels. “I am ready to carry the 24 channels that the government says I should but I need time to figure out how to do it. Capacity creation takes time. There are only two ways to create capacity- either get more transponders or remove channels. If I remove channels, customers may not be too happy with it,” adds Nagpal. “And also my contracts with other broadcasters for carriage of their channels have to be kept in mind.”
The notice was sent to Tata Sky yesterday and it has a deadline of 15 days to submit its reply. However, going by the looks of it, it won’t be too long before the ministry gets Nagpal’s reply. “We had written even when the notification was passed requesting them to reconsider since we could not do it since it had failed to help us get capacity. We got no response from the MIB for that letter,” he reveals.
According to the rule, all DTH operators have to provide 24 DD channels irrespective of whether they provide them a-la-carte or in packages to their subscribers.
The channels which cable operators must show are DD National, DD News, DD Bharati, DD Urdu, DD Sports, DD India, DD Kashir, DD Punjabi, DD Girnar, DD Sahyadri, DD Saptagiri, DD Malayalam, DD Podhigai, DD Chandana, DD Bangla, DD North East, DD Bihar, DD Uttar Pradesh, DD Rajasthan, DD Madhya Pradesh, DD Oriya, Gyan Darshan, Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV.