a player that could have been the king, but chose
not to as far as DTH is concerned.
of the earliest ones to show an interest in starting
a DTH service in India, India's pubcaster DD even
had a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia's
Astro, which operates a pay platform in Malaysia,
for DTH in the mid-1990s. The MoU was allowed to lapse
subsequently as no action was taking place on the
policy front and DD's DTH project in charge, Urmilla
Gupta, hopped over to Star India, when RK Basu was
CEO of Rupert Murdoch's Indian operation, to head
(unsuccessfully though) the DTH division.
aborted bid at having a go at DTH just before the
last general elections - then it was the Election
Commission that thumbed down DD's attempted forays
- DD now has drawn up plans for a DTH service to be
started from April. Armed with a war-chest of Rs 5
billion (spread over five years) for this project,
DD's parent company, Prasar Bharati, has made sure
this time its attempts are not stalled.
Sarma: Bullish about DTH
to Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma, "The transponders
have been obtained and other logistics are being given
a final shape and if all goes well, our unique DTH
service would be on air by April."
Yes, DD's DTH platform, for which a separate brand
name has not yet been coined or thought of, would
be the country's first and, probably, the only free
DTH service. A majority of subscribers, which would
comprise village panchayats, NGOs and select government
funded educational institutes, would get the hardware
free from Prasar Bharati and would also not pay any
monthly subscription fee to watch a gaggle of 30 channels,
including 20 of DD's.
Sarma, optimistically, hopes that other private satellite
channels, apart from some free to air ones, would
join DD's DTH platform, until now not much headway
has been made with the likes of Star and Sony in this
regard except "exploratory talks," a senior
executive of a private satellite channel said.
real reason for the government okaying financial support
for DD's DTH forays is because the cost of expansion
of terrestrial services of DD would have proved to
be costlier, especially in the hilly and sparsely
populated areas like the North-east India, comprising
the seven states like Nagaland,
Mizoram and Assam.
DD is looking at its DTH foray as a public service
from a public service broadcaster, an aggressive marketing
is not expected during the first year.
Star power say Tata to Zee's Dish, DD?
cooking on Dish TV?