DD's DTH to offer 100 channels by 2006

NEW DELHI: Public service broadcaster Doordarshan's free to air direct to home (DTH) service will offer 100 channels, including 75 private channels, by next year, according to information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy.



"Doordarshan's free to air DTH will provide 100 channels by next year," a Press Trust of India report quoted Reddy as saying on 10 September at a colloquium on 'Who decides what we watch' organised by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) and Prasar Bharati.

"DD's DTH will also provide access to 75 private channels, including music channels," he said, adding,"They (private channels) are welcome to join." At present, DD offers 33 free to air channels and 12 All India Radio channels in its bouquet under the direct to home service for which the subscribers don't pay any monthly subscription fee.



Apart from DD Direct Plus, the lone private sector DTH service in the country is Dish TV, which is 20 per cent owned by Zee Telefilms. T-Sky, a 80:20 joint venture between the Tatas and the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Star Group, is slated to start its DTH service early next year.

This free to air status of DD Direct Plus, as the DTH service is branded, has kept away popular Hindi language entertainment channels away from the platform as the likes of Star Plus, Zee TV and Sony are pay channels.

Meanwhile, Reddy, whose ministry has been working on a policy for FM and community radio services in the country, also said that community radio has a great future and the service will shortly be extended to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) too.

At present, NGOs are not allowed to start community radio service in the countr. Due to the cumbersome clearance process very few such radio services have started in the country despite the policy guidelines being framed over two years back.

Lauding PSBT and Prasar Bharati, which manages DD and AIR, for their programme that involves public participation, the minister said private broadcasters must allow ordinary people to voice their concerns through their programmes.

Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman Pradip Baijal, NASSCOM chief Kiran Karnik, Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma, filmmaker and TV Producer Meghna Gulzar and TAM media research CEO L V Krishnan also participated in the discussion, according to the PTI report.

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