DTH

DD Free Dish now in 40 million households

It provides an affordable platform for quality entertainment without subscription fee.

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NEW DELHI: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati's free-to-air DTH platform DD Free Dish has continued its strong growth trajectory and the service’s subscriber base has crossed an estimated 40 million, according to the EY FICCI Media Entertainment Report 2021.

The growth has been attributed to less expensive television sets, economic issues, launch of the DD Retro Channel and return of big broadcasters to the Free Dish platform, said the ministry of information and broadcasting in a statement. DD Free Dish has also become a second set-top box within the home, used when there are no large events on television in some cases. Free Dish distributors have mentioned year-on-year growth in sales as well as the inability to keep up with demand due to a shortage of China-manufactured chipsets.

The report also estimates that television households will continue to grow at over five per cent till 2025, driven by connected TVs which could cross 40 million by 2025 and DD Free Dish could cross 50 million.

The multi-channel free-to-air Direct to Home (DTH) service of Prasar Bharati, presently hosts 161 TV channels including 91 Doordarshan channels (comprising 51 co-branded educational channels), 70 private channels and 48 radio channels. With effect from 1 April, DD Free Dish private TV channel bouquet would comprise of 10 Hindi GEC, 15 Hindi movies, six music, 20 news, eight Bhojpuri, three devotional and two foreign channels.

It is presently under upgradation and is expected to add another few channels in its bouquet by May 2021. Recently, an online web app was released that aids consumers in finding DD Free Dish set-top box dealers based on their nearest location.

The recent e-auctions for both MPEG2 and MPEG4 slots on DD Free Dish also saw robust bidding. Prasar Bharati earned nearly Rs 10 crore through the 53rd e-auction of MPEG-4 slots of DD Free Dish and 11 channels were successfully allocated MPEG-4 slots post the auction. "The new highs in individual bids breaching earlier levels in a sign of optimism in the broadcast sector overcoming Covid2019 shock," Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati had said, post the results.

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