DD's DTH launch in limbo?


NEW DELHI: With a launch date still not fixed, a certain section in Doordarshan now thinks that starting a free Ku-band direct-to-home (DTH) TV service is a recipe for disaster and a sure shot way of attracting censure from the Comptroller and Auditor General. Especially since a business plan is not yet in place.

The voices of apprehension have been bolstered by the fact that DD's efforts to get on its DTH platform some popular free to air entertainment channels haven't borne much fruit thus far. The FTA channels that have agreed to join the platform include the likes of the Indira Gandhi National Open University's (IGNOU) two channels Eklavya TV and Vyasa TV and religious channels like Sadhna TV and DD's own channels.

In a meeting late last week, the DTH issue was discussed by some top DD officials in the presence of director-general of DD, Naveen Kumar, where it was felt that the venture would fail to have the desired effect, especially when considering the money being poured in.

The Planning Commission, a government think tank on economic policies, had last year okayed Rs 5 billion for the DTH project. The sum was to be invested over a period of five years. The mega plans were announced last year by the then information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Subsequently the Cabinet had given its stamp of approval to DD's expansion plans.

A source in Prasar Bharati, which manages DD and sibling All India Radio, admitted to indiantelevision.com that in the meeting held last week one particular deputy director-general even brought up the point of the absence of a business plan and the lack of commercial viability of the proposed venture even though the outflow would be


For example, it has been pointed out, that DD would have to pay The Netherlands-based New Skies Satellites

approximately Rs 300 million for transponder space for the DTH venture. Since the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) does not have additional and adequate transponder capacity on its existing satellites, which are marketed under the brand name Insat, DD's DTRH service was to be put on NSS-6.

Out of the total aid okayed by Planning Commission, DD has already invested approximately Rs 1.3 billion in

setting up an earth station in Delhi for the proposed DTH venture.

However, it is pertinent to mention here that there has been no official word from the information and broadcasting ministry on scrapping DD's DTH project. The issue is likely to gain momentum after Parasr Bharati CEO KS Sarma returns from the US next week where he has reportedly gone to attend a global broadcasters meet.

The Prasar Bharati source also indicated that the programming staff of DD feel that programming, something that is an important aspect of a DTH venture, has been totally neglected in the run up to the launch of a KU-band service.

DD's plans to launch a DTH service with a bouquet of 40-odd channels (out of which 20 were supposed to be DD's own, with the rest being private ones) was born when some I&B ministry mandarin calculated that to expand DD's coverage terrestrially (aim being to cover 100 per cent of the Indian population) would need a huge amount of investment. In comparison, it was tabulated that a KU-band DTH service would be cheaper.

The launch date has been postponed once before already.

Latest Reads

Airtel Digital TV revenue, PAT and EBITDA up in Q3 2018

MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel’s DTH arm Airtel Digital TV has seen a 10.4 per cent revenue growth in the quarter ending 31 December 2017 (Q3-2018) compared with Q3 2017 (y-o-y). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 22 per cent y-o-y in Q3 2018. Airtel DTH’s...

DTH DTH Operator
Sun Direct adds Sun NXT free with DTH subscription

MUMBAI: Sun Direct is finding ways to hold on to its subscriber base amidst the hordes of consolidation and shutdowns happening in the industry. Strengthening its hold in the South, which forms the largest chunk of its territory, it has announced a free membership of its video-on-demand (VOD)...

DTH DTH Operator
Dish TV re-evaluating Videocon d2h merger

MUMBAI: The Dish TV-Videocon d2h merger had reached the final stage with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) giving it the green signal. Then, suddenly on 22 December, Dish TV announced that the union would be delayed beyond 27 December 2017 citing technical reasons. Now those...

DTH DTH Operator
Tata Sky partners Irdeto to secure content

MUMBAI: Tata Sky has signed a deal with Irdeto to ensure the safety of the DTH operator's content relayed to any device across its satellite and over-the-top (OTT) platforms. The company will be implementing Irdeto’s Cloaked CA and middleware technologies for better customer experience.

DTH DTH Operator
Sun Direct may add 20 HD, 100 SD channels

Sun Direct, the DTH service from Sun Network, is likely to add 20 new high definition (HD) and 100 new standard definition (SD) channels and has been allocated 144 MHz of spectrum on the recently launched Measat-3B satellite.

DTH DTH Operator
The party continues on Tata Sky Mobile app

The Tata Sky Mobile App streamed every pulsating beat spinning out from the turntables of the EDM scene’s biggest stars to smartphones around the country, as the second day of the Ola Sunburn Festival 2017 turned the volume up on the year’s biggest party.

DTH DTH Operator
DTH subscriber growth down in second quarter

BENGALURU: The carriage industry and more specifically the direct to home or DTH industry had a disappointing fiscal year 2017 (FY-17, year ended 31 March 2017) in terms of subscriber growth. Going by the subscriber numbers data of the six private DTH players in India provided by the Telecom...

DTH DTH Operator
Tata Sky ties up with Ola Sunburn Festival 2017 to bring the biggest EDM extravaganza to small screens

MUMBAI: Tata Sky, India’s leading content distribution platform, tied up with Ola Sunburn Festival 2017, one of the largest music festivals in the world, to bring its eclectic mix of music, entertainment, experiences, celebration and lifestyle straight to the small screens. Apart from live...

DTH DTH Services
Punjab govt to levy entertainment tax on cable, DTH

MUMBAI: The Punjab government is cracking down on errant cable ops by getting them to be accountable. It has added entertainment tax to cable and DTH connections. All local gram panchayats and state bodies will collect Rs 5 per month on a DTH connection and Rs 2 a month on cable TV from operators...

DTH DTH Services

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories