DTH

DD Direct Plus to expand channel offering to 50

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NEW DELHI: Country's first free DTH service - DD Direct Plus- operated by pubcaster Doordarshan has claimed that 150,000 boxes have been sold till now, even as it gets ready to expand the channel offerings to 50.

In queue, according to DD sources, there are several foreign and domestic channels, including Hindi general entertainment channel Sahara One.

Though religious channels like Aastha, Jagran, Maharshi Veda Vision and God TV too have shown interest to be on the DD Direct Plus platform, no decision have been taken yet by the pubcaster whether to accommodate such channels or not.

The foreign channels that evinced interest include Channel News Asia, German pubcaster DW, French TV5 and Canada's SS TV.

The sources said that a committee would be set up soon to shortlist the additional 17 channels that would be finally allowed on board the DTH service for which subscribers don't have to pay any monthly feel.

The Indian channels who have shown an eagerness to be part of DD Direct Plus include some Enandu family of channels, Sahara Samay Rashtriya, Splash TV, Win TV, Zee News, Delhi-specific Total TV, Jaya TV, interactive music channel Speed Music, CMM Music, ETC Music, SS Music and Sur Sangeet.

"DD can accommodate another 17 channels in the next phase of upgradation and that's why the competition is hot amongst those wanting to be pat of DD Direct Plus," a source in DD's DTH division said.

15 LAKH BOXES SOLD, AND STILL GOING STRONG

Though critics were skeptical about DD Direct Plus, considering the pubcaster is not known to be too market savvy, the service has proved some points. Foremost that despite proliferation of cable TV, there are large parts of the country where people still don't have access to good quality transmission and variety. Second, if local options are given at cheaper prices, then people would go for it.

Take, Tamil Nadu's example. The state does boast of a sizable cable TV population, but still tops the list with maximum ( 2.5 lakh) sale of DD Direct Plus boxes. Maharashtra follows TN with sale figures of 1.5 lakh boxes, while in Rajasthan slightly over 100,000 boxes have been sold.

In the north-eastern state of Assam about 50,000 boxes have got sold, which, DD feels, is 'encouraging.'

However, the state of Karnataka, DD sources admitted, is a bit of concern with the boxes sale sluggish.

DD also is in the process of wrapping up a 117-city media outdoor campaign, which harped on the virtues of DD Direct Plus.

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