Prasar Bharati calls for fresh bids on DD Metro, Nine Gold out in the cold

After months of wrangling, Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) yesterday set the wheels in motion throwing open bidding for all time slots on its Doordarshan Metro channel. HFCL Nine Broadcasting currently holds the rights for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. The 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot expires in September, while the 10:00 to 11:00 pm one completes its run in October.

Obviously, the mandarins in Prasar Bharati have decided that enough was enough with Channel Nine and that they would not give in to pressure from its manager that it had not lived up to commitments of increasing DD penetration and reach in urban cable and satellite homes, re-engineering its transmitter setup and hence extending the contract to a longer term - 10 years at best and 18 months at the worst.

The current bidding process is slated to commence from tomorrow and the tender documents will be available online from the DD site and from its stations from 30 June.

DD has set the following floor prices for the various time slots it is throwing open to wannabe bidders:

If at first you don't try again... DD style
Time slot
Floor price

(Rs million)
Free commercial time

(in seconds)
1 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm 225 600
2 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm 325 600
3 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 425 600
4 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm 175 600
5 11:00 pm - 12:00 am no floor price 600
6 00:00 am - 00:30 am no floor price 300

DD has said that bidders should be open to an annual increase of 10 per cent for any bids they make. Additionally bidders can bid for individual hourly slots or for the entire band of 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

The pre-qualification bids will be opened on 18 June while the final bids will be opened on 19 June. Clearly, executives in television channels have a busy month ahead of them.

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