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DD Freedish revenue from e-auctions to reach Rs 120 crore by March

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NEW DELHI: Doordarshan’s free-to-air direct-to-home Freedish platform, which was telecasting 59 channels until recently has added two more channels to its kitty. What’s more, the platform is further looking at adding three more channels to its offerings soon, taking the total number of channels to 64.

In fact, another channel will come on board the platform before the end of the month, according to deputy director general C K Jain.

Clarifying the situation, Jain told Indiantlevision.com that 61 channels had been allotted and another three would be allotted shortly. The last two channels to be allotted were Sony Pal and Dillagi, which is still to go on air.

A total of 20 e-auctions have been held so far, the latest being earlier this week. DD expects to reach a target of Rs 120 crore through these auctions by the end of March this year.

Doordarshan had set a reserve price of Rs 3.7 crore per slot for the 20th online e-auction, though Indiantelevision.com learnt that the bid amount went up to Rs 4.2 crore in the 17th e-auction held on 12 November.

The attempt is to touch the target of 112 television channels in the next few months, Jain said. He said that the delay had been partly due to some technical problems, which were being sorted.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar had said recently that the future of Doordarshan was in Freedish and digitisation. He had added that this may mean that some channels would have to be attracted to Freedish by means other than e-auction.

DD sources also said that while Freedish may be encrypted to keep a tab on the number of subscribers, it would however remain free-to-air.

As all these channels are on MPEG2. Freedish, which uses Insat 4B, is migrating from its old platform to a new upgraded platform with MPEG4 in an attempt to increase its capacity. The migration would result in increase of TV channels from 59 to 64 and radio channels from 22 to 24.

Sircar had said in November that while most were coming through e-auctions, some popular channels may have to be ‘attracted’ to join Freedish since satellite television was the future.  

To access the upgraded platform, the viewers need to edit the transponder parameter by changing only the symbol rate from 27500Ksps to 28500 Ksps in four transponders and retune/rescan their Set Top Box (STB) to receive the upgraded TV and radio channels.

Viewers/subscribers who do not rescan their STB will continue to get ten channels for a period of seven days only from the date of upgradation. Out of these ten channels, one channel is an informative channel, which will show detailed procedure for re-tuning the STBs. 

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