Television

Sony Wah, Zee Anmol Cinema & 9X Jalwa set to join DD FreeDish, bid Rs 80m each

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NEW DELHI: Three general entertainment channels – Sony Wah, Zee Anmol Cinema, and 9X Jalwa – have bagged three slots on Doordarshan’s DTH platform FreeDish.

In the 34th e-auction om 9 May 2017, the three channels bid Rs 80 million each, which was the reserve price.  

After final trials of MPEG4 and the success of the 32nd auction in February, the reserve price for the next auction has been raised to Rs 80 million from Rs 48 million per slot.

Parliament was informed earlier last month that FreeDish was soon getting approval to increase this capacity to 250 channels over the next two years.

Until last year, the reserve price was Rs 43 million but one channel fetched the bid of Rs 70 million in the auction held on 14 February 2017.

Earlier last year, the price for one channel went up to Rs 53 million and gave DD the confidence to raise the price which had been Rs 37 million till 2015 but was raised to Rs 43 million for the 25th e-auction in January 2016.

DD got a jolt last month when its auction slated for 11 April could not be held. Although there was no official confirmation, indiantelevision.com learns that the FreeDish auction could not be held because there were no applicants.

The participation amount (EMD) in the e-Auction was Rs.28 nullion – up from Rs 15 million - along with processing fee of Rs.25,000 (non-refundable, up from Rs 10,000).

Incremental amount for the auction was Rs One Million. Of the bid price, Rs 11 million will be deposited within one month of placement and another Rs 11 million within two months along with service tax of 15 per cent on the bid amount.

The balance bid amount will be deposited within six months, failing which the deposited amount will be forfeited and the channel discontinued after a 21-day discontinuation notice. The participation fee will be adjusted against the third and final installment for the respective channel.

A new era begun with the adoption of MPEG4 helping FreeDish take the first major step to mark towards its target of 104 television channels by March end with its 32nd e-auction which helped it cross the capacity of eighty channels. FreeDish touched the figure of 104 with its 32nd Auction.

Doordarshan had in October last year formally announced that FreeDish was capable of carrying 104 television channels and 24 channels would be added to the existing 80 channels after the launch of MPEG4 technology.

In line with the ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’, DD has implemented Indian CAS (iCAS) on DD FreeDish Platform. iCAS (which is an initiative of the central government) was introduced in the auction held last month. The introduction of iCAS will provide enhanced viewing experience.

DD officials said the existing viewers will continue to get 80 SDTV channels and 32 radio channels, but will have to obtain iCAS-enabled authorized set-top boxes for accessing all new channels.

Although FreeDish will remain free to air with no monthly or periodic fee, the viewers will be required to register with DD FreeDish on getting the new STB from Doordarshan authorized STB dealers.

DD officials said implementation of iCAS and authorisation of STB original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by Doordarshan will give a major thrust to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. At present, a majority of STBs are imported. However, the introduction of iCAS will help in standardization of STBs and encourage quality STB manufacturing in India.

With analogue having been switched off, Parliament had been told that many stakeholders feel that FreeDish is the best option in Phase IV which covers rural India.

FreeDish was launched with a modest bouquet of 33 channels in December 2004, and now carries eighty TV channels and 32 radio channels. This includes 22 Doordarshan channels and two parliamentary channels, seven general entertainment channels, 18 movie channels, 13 news channels, seven music channels, three religious channels and eight channels of other genres. All All India Radio stations also piggy-back on the platform.

Also Read

MIB favours switching to DTH if consumers have problems with MSOs or LCOs

FreeDish aims to reach 150 channels, earned Rs 3 bn in a year

DD FreeDish auction next week, reserve price is Rs 80 million

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