DD irked at Zee's including its FTA channels as part of Dish TV's DTH

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati has taken umbrage to Subhash Chandra companies --- ASC Enterprise and Zee Telefilms --- including more than the mandated number of Doordarshan channels in the KU-band direct-to-home (DTH) television service being marketed under the Dish TV brand name.

"The Zee people are showing DD channels without authorization on the DTH service, which is not free to air and is subscription-based. We are concerned about this," Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma said today during an interaction with journalists.Though ruling out initiating any legal action against Dish TV, Sarma said the least that could have been done was to inform them that DD channels were part of the DTH package. "I have written to them on this," he added.

When asked whether any talks regarding money had taken place, Sarma said that Prasar Bharati had been informed by the ASC-Zee combine that after the DTH service crossed the 200,000-mark subscriber base, DD would get Rs 1 per channel per subscriber. Globally, channels get anywhere between $ 10-30 per channel per subscriber from the DTH service operator, he opined.

However, when contacted Zee Telefilms vice-chairman Jawahar Goel, he expressed ignorance about any letter from Prasar Bharati on the issue. "As and when we hear from DD, we'll take up the matter at the right forum," he said, adding that if DD wanted, they'd be happy to remove all DD channels.

Meanwhile, Sarma pointed out that DD's own DTH project --- scheduled to go on air on 2 April --- is on track with the tenders for uplinking being finalized at the moment.

The non-subscription based DTH service, Sarma said, is being started by DD as a "substitute to terrestrial expansion", which would have, otherwise, cost much more.

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